Testing of foam play mats finds no safety risk to children

Published: 
18 Oct 2011

Recent testing of foam play mats and toys for the chemical formamide has found no evidence that these products present any risk to children.

The ACCC and some state/territory consumer product safety agencies tested a total of 16 ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) foam products.

Half of the products tested released no measureable amount of formamide, and where formamide was measured, the amounts released were very small.

Based on the actual testing, it was concluded that a child would need to mouth for 20 minutes, or ingest, at least 4.17 square metres of typical foam play mat every day over their entire life to approach a level of exposure to formamide which might raise health concerns.

The potential exposure of children to formamide from these products was calculated and compared to the internationally recognised lowest-observable-adverse-effect-level cited in Environment/Health Canada’s Screening Assessment for the Challenge: Formamide.

While most contact children have with these products is through their skin, the exposure estimate also considered a worst case scenario, where children might mouth or ingest the foam.

Foam play mats and toys typically available in Australia do not expose children to unsafe amounts of formamide and these products are safe for their intended purpose.

No further testing/assessment of these products is currently planned.

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