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PDF of this file Fact sheet for Australian toy importers and traders

A fact sheet for Australian toy importers and traders

By Ellie Li and Elizabeth O’Brien, Global Lead Advice & Support Service (GLASS), Australia, written for the Toy Fair, Melbourne 21st & 22nd March 2009; updated by Martin Bagnall 1st April 2011

  • I don’t want to poison Aussie kids with heavy metals in toys”    AGREE    DISAGREE

  • I don’t want to pay a million dollar fine if ACCC happens to buy my toys off the shelf in 2010 and they fail the toy tox tests at NMI”     AGREE    DISAGREE

EOB & StormtrooperToy Fair 2009
Photo by Michael Nayda, Thermo Scientific.

If you AGREE with both the above statements, then this factsheet is for you! It was created for distribution by Elizabeth O’Brien (pictured wearing “Shut the Door on Lead Poisoning” t-shirt, alongside Star Wars Stormtrooper) stand on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd March 2009, at the Australian Toy Hobby and Nursery Fair in Melbourne, run by the Australian Toy Association (ATA).

The ATA’s Exhibitor Bulletin, Day 3 - Sunday 22nd March 2009, noted:

“Yesterday you would have received an ACCC Product safety bulletin [March 2009]. One of the articles therein referred to lead in children’s toys and the new mandatory standard effective from 1 January 2010.

“Today international lead expert Elizabeth O’Brien of The LEAD Group will be at the Thermo Scientific stand (i17) to answer all your queries about lead. A free toy ‘tox’ screen will also be available.”


How can I be sure about the concentration of leachable heavy metals in my toys?

XRF technology is a rapid and convenient tool that enables instant detection of all the 8 heavy metals in the Australian Toy Standard AS/NZS ISO 8124.3:2003, allowing many toys to be tested compared to the time and cost that a lab would take to test toys.

Savings are significant in both time and money, as XRF identifies only those toys that need be referred to the lab for tox tests.

XRF identifies the “total amount” of presence of heavy metals in a toy sample, which is not the same as the leachable, or migratory properties of a heavy metal.

For example; if a toy, or toy component, screened using XRF is identified as high in “total amount” of a heavy metal(s), then you will need to send it to a qualified laboratory for the toy tox test for that particular heavy metal. This will determine exactly how much of the metal leaches(migratory properties) from the toy and whether it exceeds the Australian Toy Standard.

In other words, a toy can fail the XRF test but pass the lab test, so confirmatory lab testing is essential on those toys/parts that fail the XRF test.

XRF technology is widely used and accepted by Australian state and federal government regulators, as a means of rapid screening for the identification of the presence of heavy metals in toys.

Once a toy has been identified by XRF technology as high in a heavy metal and in order to fully comply with Australian standards, ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) stipulates that toy testing can be done at any suitably qualified laboratory. This can be either through a lab that is NATA (National Association of Testing Authorities)-accredited for the particular test, or a lab that is NATA-accredited for related tests and which offers toy testing according to the toy standard methodology. The following is a list of relevant lab contacts for your information.

If your toys are in Australia, XRF testing services are conducted by;

  SamplingTech_Logo                                       Sampling Technologies Pty Ltd

Contact: Mr Martin Bagnall

PH: 1800 453 394

FX: 03 8668 1303


PO Box 1178, Kensington,

Victoria, 3031

Sampling Technologies service is a portable service, providing testing on site with trained staff and XRF equipment at any facility around Australia and New Zealand.

For toy tox test labs in Australia, visit - eg:

1. National Measurement Institute (NMI)

Contact: Ms Emma Tiberi

Phone: (03) 9644 4888, Fax:(03) 9644 4999

  Mobile: 0413 947 990

  1/153 Bertie Street


Facilities: Public testing service ACCREDITED by NATA for Analysis of toys

Analysis by ICP- AES techniques by the methods of - AS/NZS ISO 8124.3 for the following determinations - soluble elements: Antimony; arsenic; barium; cadmium; chromium; lead; mercury; selenium.

2. Sydney West Area Health Service

DAL Public Health

Contact: Mr R Angulo

Phone:(02) 9646 0222

Division of Analytical Laboratories

  Joseph Street and  Weeroona Road


Facilities: Conditionally available for public testing

ACCREDITED by NATA for Analysis of paint from children's toys and from buildings; Analysis by  AAS (flame) techniques by in-house method TM118B; for Lead.

3. Sydney Analytical Laboratories Pty Ltd, Watertest

Contact: Mr L Smith

Phone:(02) 9838 8903

Sydney Chemical Testing Laboratory

1/4 Abbott Road


Facilities: Public testing service

ACCREDITED by NATA for Paints and related surface coatings; Chemical tests: Analysis of paint scrapings; Analysis by  AAS techniques by in-house method A8; for Lead.

If your toys are still at the factory overseas, you can organise testing in one of the SGS labs overseas,  accredited for the toy tox test, by contacting:

Nathan Temple
SGS Australia Pty Ltd

  480 Princes Highway, Noble Park, VIC 3174, Australia

Phone: (03) 9790-3479. Fax: (03) 9701-0988

Mobile: 0410-505-381



Eg, CNAS’s (China National Accreditation Service for Conformity Assessment) Directory of Accredited Laboratories at lists:

SGS-CSTC Standards Technical Services Co., Ltd. Shenzhen Branch Toys Lab, Futian District, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China; ACCREDITED by CNAS for AS/NZS ISO8124.3:2003; ISO8124-3: 1997; GB 6675-2003 clause 4.3 - Safety of toys - Migration of certain elements.

See “Product safety bulletin October 2007: Banned lead in children's toys” at regarding the current ban.

Look out for the suppliers’ guide published on the ACCC website prior to the start of the mandatory toy standard in January 2010. See Toy Fair 2009

Don’t put off testing your toys any longer!!

Ask about The LEAD Group’s charity rates for bulk toy testing through Sydney Analytical Laboratories or by XRF, using Sampling Technologies ( ). We also have our DIY-sampling lead safe test kits available for sale to parents, day care centre managers, retailers, etc, who wish to test the concentration of lead and other heavy metals around their house/ centre/ /workplace and within their toys. See Do It Yourself Lead Safe Test Kits Ad.html

For large batches of toys, The LEAD Group would refer you for XRF testing by Sampling Technologies (see above).

The LEAD Group Inc. Fact Sheet Index

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  2. Main Sources of Lead

  3. How Would You Know If You or Your Child Was lead poisoned?

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  8. Rotary Questionnaire

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  10. Childhood Lead Poisoning Risk Factor Questionnaire

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  12. Lead in Drinking Water in Australia

  13. Have We Really Resolved The Lead Issue?

  14. The Importance of the Availability of "Spot Tests" for Lead in Paint

  15. Pregnant or Planning a Pregnancy

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  18. Beware The Lead In Lead Lighting

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  20. What to do if you have too much lead in your tank water

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  22. Contamination At Shooting Ranges

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  29. Facts and Firsts of Lead

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  31. Lead Mining Stewardship - Grey Lead and the Role of The LEAD Group

  32. Preventative Strategies of The LEAD Group

  33. What do Doctors need to do about Lead?

  34. A Naturopath's Experience Of Lead & People With Diagnosed Mental Illness

  35. Case File: Helping Manage Australian Lead in Petrol - How GLASS Works

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  49. In CHINA - Blood lead testing: who to test, when, and how to respond to the result

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  51. Alperstein et al Lead Alert - A Guide For Health Professionals 1994

  52. Ceiling Dust WorkCover Guide Lee Schreiber Final Nov 1999

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  54. The Need for Expert Clinical Assessments in Diagnosis Of Heavy Metal Poisoning

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  69. Biosolids used as fertilizer in China and other countries

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  73. Low Level Lead Exposure Harms Children - A Renewed Call for Primary Prevention

  74. Occupational Health & Safety Fact Sheet Dangers of lead for roofers

  75. Let’s Make Leaded Petrol History - Let’s Make Leaded Gasoline History

  76. Lead, Your Health & the Environment. Available in Arabic, Chinese, English, Korean, Macedonian, Spanish, Turkish and Vietnamese 

  77. Lead Safe Housekeeping

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  81. A Guide For Health Care Professionals (Brochure 34 pages)

  82. A Guide To Keeping Your Family Safe From Lead (Brochure 20 pages)

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