Other Chemicals of Concern
Antimony and Chromium
XRF measurements of toy components also revealed the presence of three
other elements: antimony, chromium, and tin. See Rating
System for HealthyStuff.org.
The XRF device can only detect elements. Thus, the actual form of the
element in a compound cannot always be determined. The health effects
information below is based on the elemental form and the compounds most
likely to be present in the items tested.
Voluntary and mandatory safety standards for most of these chemicals
have been published both in the U.S. and Europe for toys, computers, fabrics
and leathers, office furniture and vehicles.
Below is a summary of general environmental and health concerns associated
with these elements and related chemical compounds. The health concerns
discussed below may be dependent on many factors, including actual exposure
levels, the valence levels of the elements and/or the actual chemical
compound used in a toy or children's product component.
HealthyStuff.org ratings do not provide a measure of
health risk or chemical exposure associated with any individual toy or
children's product, or any individual element or related chemical. HealthyStuff.org
ratings only provide a relative measure of high, medium, and low concentrations
of several hazardous chemicals or chemical elements in a toy or children's
product in comparison to criteria established in the site methodology.
Antimony is used as a catalyst in the production of polyesters. Antimony
trioxide is also used in combination with brominated flame retardants
to increase fire resistance. In our testing we found both lower levels
of antimony (160-700 ppm range) that are consistent with polyester applications,
as well as higher levels (2,000-5,000 ppm range) that may be consistent
with flame retardant applications. In either case, it is possible that
antimony is released from the plastic material. For more information, visit ATSDR - ToxFAQs™ Para obtener más
información en español Antimonio
(Sb) | ATSDR - ToxFAQs™
Depending on the form and levels of exposure:
- Antimony trioxide is classified as a carcinogen in the state of California
and has been listed as a possible human carcinogen by the International
Agency for Research on Cancer and the European Union.
- In long-term studies, animals that breathed very low levels of antimony
had eye irritation, hair loss, lung damage, and heart problems (ATSDR
- Higher levels of antimony have been shown to cause fertility problems
and lung cancer in animals (ATSDR
- A recent report indicates that antimony may weakly mimic naturally-occurring
estrogen. The human health implications of this discovery are unknown
Current Regulations for Products
- The toy industry has established a voluntary migration standard
(ASTM F973-07) for the amount of antimony that can migrate from toys
of 60 ppm. The European toy industry has established a migration standard
(EN 71) of 60 ppm for antimony.
- On February 10, 2009 the CPSIA adopted the ASTM F973-07 levels for
antimony and other metals (view
ASTM standard) as a mandatory standard.
- California restricts the amount of antimony that can be in the paints
and coatings of certain consumer products.
Chromium (Cr) is found in several forms in commercial products. It
is used primarily as a elemental component in alloys and in stainless
steel. Two forms, Cr (III) and Cr (VI), can also be used as pigments.
Cr (III) is also used in leather tanning, and Cr (VI) in wood preservatives.
Chromium compounds can also be used in textiles, and as catalysts (ATSDR
- ToxFAQs™: Chromium and en
The toxicity of chromium strongly depends on the oxidation state of this
element; two of the most common forms are the less toxic Cr(III) or the
highly toxic Cr(VI) state. XRF testing does not distinguish between oxidation
states and only indicates the presence of the elemental chromium. While
chromium is an essential nutrient, the most protective eco-label standards
require the absence of chromium in leather tanning and fabric.
Depending on the form and the level of exposure:
- Cr (III) is an essential trace element and nutrient for the body.
- Some Cr (VI) compounds are considered known carcinogens as a result
of increased lung cancer among exposed workers (ATSDR
- Laboratory studies indicate that Cr (VI) may cause birth defects, and reproductive
problems particularly in males (ATSDR
- Higher levels of exposure have caused asthma attacks and nasal irritation
in people (ATSDR
Current Regulations for Products
- The toy industry has established a voluntary migration standard (ASTM
F973-07) for the amount of chromium that can migrate from toys of 60
ppm. The European toy industry has established a migration standard
(EN 71) of 60 ppm for chromium.
On February 10, 2009 the CPSIA adopted the ASTM F973-07 levels for chromium and other metals (view ASTM standard) as a mandatory standard.
- Ninteteen states limit hexavalent chromium (CrVI) in packaging materials (TPCH