Noisy Toys Campaign
Current Regulations: Not Safe for Children's Hearing Health
SAC members are concerned that some toys have the potential to harm children's hearing.
In Canada, regulation exists under the Hazardous Products Act that bans toys emitting noise levels exceeding 100 decibels (dB). While SAC supports Health Canada’s efforts to protect our children’s hearing, we believe that 100 dB is an unsafe level, and noise-induced hearing loss (N-IHL) could be the result. The 100 dB level needs to be re-examined and researched to protect our children.
From 2006 through 2008, SAC participated in several advocacy initiatives to raise awareness of the dangerous effects of noisy toys. During that time, we participated in two press conference and had many follow-up meetings with MPs.
In 2008, SAC participated in a press conference on Parliament Hill, hosted by NDP MP, Judy Wasylycia-Leis, who was introducing a private member's bill (C-357) advocating for a reduction of allowable noise decibel level in toys from the current 100 dB to 75 dB. This bill was introduced and went through First Reading but, unfortunately, did not become law.
Since this bill died in 2010, we have been keeping in contact with our partners in government; hopeful that, with the information we and others have made public, future amendments to the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act will include our recommendations.
More Information on Our Noisy Toys Campaign:
- Full Campaign Report
- Campaign Press Releases
- Revising the Current Hazardous Products Act - An SAC Issue Paper
The International Standards Organization (ISO) technical committee recommends that close-to-the-ear toys should not exceed 65 dB when measured in the free field and all other toys should not exceed 85 dB. The current Canadian Act permits a noise level which is potentially dangerous, because it does not take into account the typical use of the toys.
If we were to compare current regulatory framework on workplace noise requirements under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, we would find far stricter rules for noise exposure than currently exist for children's toys.
In Alberta, for example, a 3-decibel exchange rate is applied. The exchange rate is used to calculate the amount by which the permitted sound level may increase if the exposure time is halved. For example, using the 3-dB "rule", if the sound level increases from 85 to 88 dB, a worker may only be exposed to the sound for 4 hours, instead of 8.
If we were to apply this regulation to toys, a toy producing 100 dB of noise should only be used by an adult for 15 minutes. Hold that toy to a child’s ear, and the noise at the level of the eardrum is increased to dangerous levels.