The EN 71-3 standard assesses the migration of certain chemicals into the body if a toy or components of a toy were to be swallowed by a child.
In the EU, the migration of these chemicals is assessed by immersing the toy in an acid, designed to represent stomach acid, for two hours. After this time, the acid is analytically measured to see whether chemicals are present. If they are present, it means they have migrated from the toy into the acid and as such, depending on the levels found, reflect a potential danger to the child.
The standard includes testing with 19 different chemicals. In addition, three different categories of toys are included, each having different limits for the chemicals related to the likelihood of ingestion. The category that has the most onerous limits includes liquid toys (paints, bubble solutions, etc.) because these can be ingested relatively easily by a child. Plastics are included in the category that has the most lenient limits as the risk of ingestion is lower.
The standard examines the concentrations of the following chemicals: aluminium, antimony, arsenic, barium, boron, cadmium, Chromium (III), Chromium (VI), cobalt, copper, lead, manganese, mercury, nickel, selenium, strontium, tin, organic tin and zinc.