Since the adoption of the European Standard EN71: Part 3 on toy safety, there has been dissatisfaction with the poor reproducibility obtained between laboratories using the test method for the determination of the migration of certain elements from paints on toys. This lack of quality control could result in toys being judged unacceptable with regard to the requirements of the EC Directive 88/378/EEC, which creates a potential barrier to trade. Efforts were deemed necessary to improve the methods of measurements and testing, e.g. through interlaboratory studies and preparation of Certified Reference Material(s).
The project aimed to carry out an interlaboratory study to evaluate the analytical state of the art of trace elements in paint coated on different types of plates and to organise a certification campaign of a series of paint CRMs to be certified for their contents of a range of trace elements (CRMs 620, 622 and 623).
The interlaboratory study was conducted in 1995 and enabled to improve the state of the art in such a way that certification was made possible. The certification campaign was carried out with nine laboratories from EU Member States. The good agreement obtained in the results of determinations of a range of elements (As, Ba, Cd, Cr, Pb, Sb and Se) enabled the certification of alkyd resin paint coated on to mild steel plate (CRM 620), acrylic paint coated on to plastic plate (CRM 622) and alkyd resin comminuted paint (CRM 623). Owing to a disagreement in the results due to unsolved analytical difficulties, paint coated on to aluminium plate and beechwood plate could not certified. The CRMs will be made available to customers by the midst of 1998.
The different tasks were the following: (1) preparation of paint reference materials and calibrant solutions containing trace elements (2) organisation of an interlaboratory study, (3) preparation of large batches of candidate paint reference materials, (4) organisation of a certification campaign, and (5) technical and statistical evaluation of the results followed by writing of the certification report.