ISO 8124-12:2023— Microbiological Safety of Toys

Close up of a child playing with green slime that adheres to microbiological testing for toys in ISO 8124-12:2023.

Contaminated toys could infect children and put them at risk to getting a disease. Toy testing is therefore an essential part of the toy manufacturing process since it assures that toys meet safety and quality standards and are safe for children to use. ISO 8124-12:2023— Safety Of Toys – Part 12: Microbiological Safety covers the microbiological cleanliness of materials used in toys.

What Is A Microbiology Test?

Bacteria is one of the microorganisms found in many places, such as soil, dust, air, water, food, or tissue surfaces. They have been widely used, for instance, in food manufacturing, such as cheese, beer, bread, and nutritional supplements. However, certain microorganisms are pathogens, such as E. coli, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus aureus, that can cause discomfort and even fetal harm to the human body.

Microbiology testing and microbial detection are therefore used for quality control in pharmaceutical manufacturing, municipal water, food and beverage, and cosmetics industries to ensure product safety. From bioburden testing to mycoplasma detection, pathogen and spoilage testing, pyrogen testing, sterility testing, air monitoring, and surface testing, a variety of microbiological testing techniques are routinely employed to ensure safety and regulatory compliance.

What Is ISO 8124-12?

ISO 8124-12:2023 specifies acceptable criteria for microbiological cleanliness and adequacy of preservation of the specified toy materials. The cleanliness and preservation effectiveness requirements are applicable to a toy as it is initially received by the consumer in an unopened and undamaged container. The requirements apply to all toys that contain aqueous materials (e.g., paste, putty, liquid or gel). In addition, ISO 8124-12:2023 applies to toys that include a cosmetic. Powders and similar substances intended to be mixed with water are also within the scope of this standard.

Is Putty Slime Safe?

Borax is a strong alkaline substance like lye. Boron is found in borax, a common ingredient in slime that helps give it its stickiness and helps make putty elastic. Over-exposure of boron can cause skin irritation, diarrhea, vomiting, and cramps in the short term. According to the European commission, very high levels of boron may also impair fertility and could cause harm to children in the womb. In short, boric acid and its derivatives should never be handled by children repeatedly.

The EU safety limit is 300mg/kg for slime and 1,200mg/kg for putty. Moreover, the amount of borax that slime recipes call for is typically not enough to get absorbed through the skin of most people. That said, it is important to recognize that what a recipe calls for is not always the amount that gets added and to be warry if quantities used when making slime are larger than in the recommended uses.

ISO 8124-12 Microbiological Examinations for Productions

ISO 8124-12:2023 specifies that when conducting microbiological examinations for any product, it is especially important that:

  1. Only microorganisms present in the samples be isolated or enumerated
  2. The microorganisms do not contaminate the environment

In order to achieve this, the standard maintains that it is necessary to pay attention to sanitation and hygiene. Additionally, it is important to use aseptic techniques that ensure exclusion of extraneous contamination.

ISO 8124-12:2023— Safety Of Toys – Part 12: Microbiological Safety is available on the ANSI Webstore.

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