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New CPSC Position on Phthalates Ban Provides Big Relief to Manufacturers

A positive change in the implementation of the phthalate ban was just announced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission via an advisory opinion letter.  SGMA has worked directly with CPSC on the application of the phthalates provision over the past few months and considers this clarification a major improvement for the industry.

In short, the CPSC General Counsel issued an opinion that the ban on toys and child care products containing phthalates only applies to products manufactured on or after February 10, 2009 implementation date for the phthalates ban.  A November 17 letter from CPSC General Counsel Cheryl Falvey clarified how the Commission interprets the phthalates ban.  The commission views the ban as not retroactive and not applicable to inventory manufactured prior to the February 10, 2009 implementation date on phthalates in toys.  

This is a huge relief for manufacturers of products containing phthalates that may be considered toys.  As many know, due to the vague definition of a toy as “a product a child use when it plays”, certain sporting goods and licensed products could have been subjected to the ban. The CPSC is currently soliciting comments from all stakeholders on the phthalates issue.   SGMA continues to work with the CPSC to clarify how the new product safety laws apply to sporting goods, fitness and licensed products.  We hope to have a CPSC advisory opinion clarifying how sporting goods and licensed products are defined as different from children’s toys and therefore not subject to the phthalates provision of the new product safety law. We caution you that this most recent pronouncement is subject to change and recommend that all use of phthalates be carefully examined. 

The November 17 letter from CPSC General Counsel Cheryl Falvey states:

“The Consumer Product Safety Act expressly states that consumer product safety standards apply only to products manufactured after the effective date of the new standard.”

This interpretation of the law resolves two major issues for manufacturers: 

  • Compliance with respect to existing inventory and products currently in the pipeline that may contain Phthalates
  • Testing of existing inventory and products manufactured prior to February 10, 2009 to certify that they are phthalate-free

The letter denies a request on implementation of the new “lead content” limitations as the “lead” restrictions fall under the
Federal Hazardous Substances Act.  Manufacturers must certify compliance with the new “lead content” limitations as of the
February 10, 2009 implementation date.

SGMA hopes that this new information helps companies work toward compliance with the new laws.
 

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