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Congress Amends Product Safety Laws for Toys

Published August 23, 2011

Restricted Substances Overview

On August 12, 2011, President Obama signed into law H.R. 2715, which amends the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 ("CPSIA" or "Act") in several significant ways. Explained in more detail below, the CPSIA established a series of safety standards for children's products and toys as well as new testing, certification, and labeling requirements. H.R. 2715 makes the following changes:

  1. Clarifies that the Act's lead content limit does not apply retroactively;
  2. Excludes certain categories of children's products from the lead content limit, including most used and resold items and off-highway vehicles (e.g., all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles), and adopts alternate lead limits for children's bicycles;
  3. Clarifies the scope of the phthalates ban in children's toys and child care articles and exempts inaccessible parts of such products from the ban;
  4. Delays by up to 5 days the posting of incident reports on the Consumer Product Safety Information Database where there is notice of materially inaccurate information;
  5. Gives the Consumer Product Safety Commission ("CPSC or "Commission") broader authority to implement the Act, including the ability to exclude from the tracking label requirement certain products for which such labels are impracticable and to exclude from the lead content limit certain children's products if impracticable or where the lead is inaccessible; and
  6. Tasks the Commission with considering alternate approaches to third-party testing, with a particular focus on reducing burdens for small batch manufacturers.

Further, on August 14, 2011, the 100 parts per million (ppm) lead content limit in children's products went into effect. This lower limit only applies to children's products manufactured on or after August 14, 2011.

In addition, beginning on January 1, 2012, manufacturers and importers of toys will have to certify that children's toys and child care articles comply with the phthalates requirements imposed by section 108 of the CPSIA and that toys comply with the design requirements of ASTM F963-08 based on third-party testing at CPSC-accredited laboratories.

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