By Colleen Kave, J.D.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a final rule establishing that certain plastics with specified additives would not contain the specified phthalates prohibited in children’s toys and child care articles. Accordingly, the commission voted unanimously (5-0) to remove seven plastics from the requirement to conduct independent third-party testing for compliance with the mandatory prohibitions on children’s toys and child care articles containing phthalates. The rule goes into effect on September 29, 2017 (CPSC Final Rule, 82 FR 41163, August 30, 2017; CPSC News Release, August 29, 2017).
Background. Section 108 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) prohibits children’s toys and child care articles that contain certain specified phthalates in concentrations above 0.1 percent in "accessible plasticized component parts and other component parts made of materials that may contain phthalates." Phthalates are not naturally occurring materials, but are intentionally created and used in specific applications (e.g., plastics, surface coatings, solvents, inks, adhesives, and some rubberized materials). One application of phthalates in children’s toys and child care articles is as a plasticizer, or softener for plastic component parts. Children’s toys and child care articles subject to the content limits in section 108 of the CPSIA require third-party testing for compliance with the phthalate content limits before the manufacturer can issue a Children’s Product Certificate (CPC) and enter the children’s toys or child care articles into commerce. However, some specific plastics with certain additives might not use any of the prohibited phthalates as a plasticizer, or for any other purpose. For these specific plastics and accompanying additives, compliance with the requirements of section 108 of the CPSIA can be assured without requiring third-party testing.
Final rule. To reduce the third-party testing burden on children’s product certifiers while continuing to assure compliance, the CPSC has determined with a high degree of assurance that certain specific plastics (polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE), high-impact polystyrene (HIPS), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), general purpose polystyrene (GPPS), medium-impact polystyrene (MIPS), and super high-impact polystyrene (SHIPS)) with certain additives comply with the phthalate content requirements of section 108 of the CPSIA, based on evidence indicating that such materials will not contain the prohibited phthalates. This final rule creates a new Part 1308 for "Prohibition of Children’s Toys and Child Care Articles Containing Specified Phthalates: Determinations Regarding Certain Plastics" which determines that the specified plastics and accompanying additives do not contain the statutorily prohibited phthalates in concentrations above 0.1 percent, and thus, are not required to be third-party tested to assure compliance with section 108 of the CPSIA.
In a statement praising the final rule, CPSC Acting Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle called the measure "one of the most significant burden reduction steps the CPSC has taken in recent years." Commissioner Buerkle reiterated that reducing unnecessary regulatory burdens is a top priority for her, and she urged all CPSC stakeholders to bring opportunities for burden reduction to her attention by submitting comments to the Commission’s Request for Information on Potentially Reducing Regulatory Burdens without Harming Consumers (82 FR 27636) by September 30, 2017.
MainStory: TopStory FinalRules CPSCNews ChildrensProductsNews
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