The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted 5-0 July 27, 2011, to approve new third party testing requirements for phthalates, through a notice of requirements, to ensure that children's toys and child care articles meet the federal phthalates limits.
Phthalates are a type of chemical used to make plastics and other materials more flexible. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) permanently banned the use of three phthalates in concentrations greater than 0.1 percent in children's toys and child care articles and temporarily banned the use of three others in concentrations greater than 0.1 percent in children's toys and child care articles that can be mouthed, sucked or chewed pending further study. Since February 2009, it has been unlawful to manufacture or import children's toys and child care articles violating these standards.
The CPSIA also required testing to prove compliance with these standards. While makers and sellers of toys and child care articles have had to comply with the phthalates requirements for more than two years, the Commission has voted previously to give manufacturers, importers and private labelers additional time to put a third party testing program into place. CPSC has approved a stay of enforcement on the requirement for third party testing and certification of these children's toys and child care articles to the phthalates limits until December 31, 2011. The Commission will enforce certification of compliance with the phthalates limits based on third party testing of children's toys and child care articles manufactured or imported after that date.
The Commission agreed with the staff's recommendation that only those plastic parts or other product parts which could conceivably contain phthalates should be tested. Untreated/unfinished wood, metal, natural fibers, natural latex and mineral products are not expected to inherently contain phthalates and need not be tested or certified provided that these materials have neither been treated or adulterated with the addition of materials that could result in the addition of phthalates into the product or material. The guidance contained in the Commission's August 2009 Statement of Policy for certain other materials, such as polyolefins, remains in effect.
Commissioner's Statements: Commissioner Nancy Nord (PDF).