Allergy Toy Certification Marks Must Be Validated and Based in Science

Allergy Toy Certification Marks Must Be Validated and Based in Science

How a third party allergy health labelling can lead to insights and action in the toy industry

Many doctors, nurses and asthma educators advise parents to remove stuffed toys from the bedroom of children with allergies and asthma. Additional advice such as wash them regularly and avoid toys with fabrics that have harsh chemicals is also given. This leaves parents in a dilemma and confused when deciding which toys are suitable to buy for children. The asthma & allergy friendly® logo program was set up to tackle the issue of allergy health labelling by providing parents with an allergy toy certification mark that is based in science. Stuffed toys are an established reservoir for house dust mites. The relationship between house dust mite allergens and asthma has been comprehensively reviewed and published in reports from the ‘International Workshops in Allergens and Asthma’ [zotpressInText item=”{HZKTBT9D}”]. The Workshops’ participants were experts invited from around the world to discuss prior research in this field, to formulate recommendations for allergen-specific management of asthma, and to consider future research directions.

What is allergy health labelling?

The report of the 3rd International Workshop in Indoor Allergens and Asthma declares that “appropriate standards for products marketed for allergen avoidance, should be developed by industry or consumer agencies”. The allergen avoidance market is ever enlarging but “currently there is little or no regulation governing claims.” Increasingly to improve textile performance a number of chemicals are now used in the industry. It is recognized that respiratory tract disorders and certain skin problems can be influenced by a number of factors with chemical exposure triggering symptoms by both irritant and/or allergic mechanisms. Therefore, it is important in assessment to analyze these chemical parameters as well as house dust mite allergen hosting characteristics. Unfortunately allergy awareness knowledge can often not be acted upon when making purchase choices or other consumer decisions. Manufacturers may use such claims as “hypo-allergenic”[zotpressInText item=”{AVH46ZAR}”], “non-allergenic” or “allergen free” to target particular individuals but there is frequently an absence of substantiating testing data or standardized testing requirements. The consumer is vulnerable to the emotional appeal of such unsubstantiated claims. Allergy Standards Limited (ASL) is an international standards and certification body that has developed testing methodologies to identify the performance criteria and suitability specifications of products for people concerned about allergies, asthma and issues related to indoor air quality. ASL’s independent certification standards and have been written in consultation with industry, retailers and health care professionals and are the only standards that are accepted by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. The certification process for toys utilizes a range of recognized and proprietary scientific techniques to asses toys for exposure to allergenic proteins and irritant materials both at the time of purchase and thereafter when in use. In order for the toys to become certified they must meet all of the following criteria: * Comply with national safety legislation for style and age range in the countries where they are sold. * Product is subjected to further material tests to ensure that the toys do not have properties that are likely to irritate both asthma and allergy symptoms in susceptible people. * In order to maintain the safety and health of the child toys are subjected to the additional tests for textile processing and finishing chemicals suspected or known to have a potential to cause allergic or irritant reactions. The testing protocols specify the maximum content of these chemicals and dyes allowed. The limits specified are based on present knowledge and scientific research into the safety of chemicals used in the toy and textile industry. Because research is ongoing these limits will be kept under continuing review. * Allergen accumulating within the stuffed toy must be removable by laundering in a washing machine. The rate of house dust mite allergen accumulation in a toy item under defined conditions must be determined. * Before and after the recommended repeated laundering procedures, toys must meet or exceed the most stringent applicable international legal restrictions /directive standards for quality and safety. Allergens will accumulate at different rates and, therefore, the frequency of the recommended physical cleaning procedure is going to vary from toy to toy. The care will provide consumers with more accurate and reliable instructions on maintaining low levels of allergens within a particular toy’s useful life. ASL and its medical and scientific advisory board remain free from any commercial conflict of interest that might influence the impartiality of the asthma & allergy friendly® certification process. The granting, maintenance, and renewal of the certification will be afforded only to those products that comply with regulations and relevant criteria prescribed by ASL. The independent third party certification process has been adopted by a number of patient advocacy groups and foundations across the world including the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America and The Asthma Society of Canada. Follow up research has shown the program is providing a real educational benefit at the point of purchase and the logo program and labelling practice is being supported by an increasing number of retailers including Toys R Us and Target.

About ASL

Allergy Standards Limited (ASL) is an international certification company that prepares independent standards for testing a wide range of products to determine their suitability for asthmatics and individuals with associated allergies. ASL has devised a series of proprietary testing protocols and suitability specifications for products to meet in order to be eligible for certification as asthma & allergy friendly®™. ASL has developed the asthma & allergy friendly®™ mark to identify products that consumers can trust have been subject to rigorous testing to determine their relative suitability for people with asthma and allergies. ASL has applied internationally recognized asthma and allergy trigger avoidance recommendations including both allergens and irritants. Their management team possesses specialist skills in a variety of medical fields including asthma and other allergic diseases. Download Article Here: Allergy Toy Certification Marks Must Be Validated and Based in Science Bibliography:

1. Platts-Mills TA, Vervloet D, Thomas WR, Aalberse RC, Chapman MD. Indoor allergens and asthma: report of the Third International Workshop. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1997 Dec;100(6 Pt 1):S2–24.
2. Nutrition C for FS and A. Labeling Claims – [Internet]. [cited 2017 Jan 24]. Available from:

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