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CPSC Exempts Certain Plastics in Toys from Third-Party Testing for Phthalates

The Consumer Product Safety Commission had adopted a determination that four types of plastics with specified additives do not contain certain phthalates whose use in children’s toys and child care articles is currently prohibited. Based on this determination, effective 29 September the plastics with specified additives will not require third party testing for compliance with the mandatory phthalate prohibitions on children’s toys and child care articles.

Section 108 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 prohibits children’s toys and child care articles that contain six specified phthalates (DEHP, DBP, BBP, DINP, DIDP and DnOP) in concentrations above 0.1 percent in accessible plasticised component parts and other component parts made of materials that may contain phthalates. The CPSC has since proposed to make the interim prohibition on DINP permanent, lift the interim prohibitions on DIDP and DnOP, and add four other phthalates to the prohibited list (DIBP, DPENP, DHEXP and DCHP), but those actions have not yet been finalised.

Section 14(a) of the Consumer Product Safety Act, as amended by the CPSIA, requires manufacturers of products subject to a consumer product safety rule or similar rule, ban, standard or regulation enforced by the CPSC to certify that the product complies with all applicable CPSC-enforced requirements. For children’s products, certification must be based on testing conducted by a CPSC-accepted third party conformity assessment body. Accordingly, children’s toys and child care articles subject to the limits for phthalates require third party testing for compliance with those limits before the manufacturer can issue a children’s product certificate and enter the children’s toys or child care articles into U.S. commerce.

Public Law 112-28 of August 2011 directed the CPSC to seek comment on opportunities to reduce the cost of third party testing requirements consistent with assuring compliance with any applicable consumer product safety rule, ban, standard or regulation. It also authorised the Commission to issue new or revised third party testing regulations if it determines that such regulations will reduce third party testing costs consistent with assuring compliance with the applicable consumer product safety rules, bans, standards and regulations. To that effect and among other initiatives, the CPSC asked the Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment to conduct research on phthalates and prepare two reports with its findings. Based on this research, CPSC staff concluded that very little information exists indicating that manufactured polypropylene, polyethylene, certain polystyrene and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene plastics could contain any of the phthalates currently prohibited or the phthalates that may be prohibited under the previously referenced proposed rule. In addition, no evidence was found that these phthalates are present at concentrations above 0.1 percent in any of the four plastics (either virgin or using recycled material) for consumer products, especially children’s products.

As a result, the CPSC has determined that these four plastics, with any of the additives set forth below, comply with the phthalate prohibition and thus are not required to be third-party tested to assure compliance.

  • polypropylene with plasticisers polybutenes, dioctyl sebacate, isooctyl tallate, paraffinic, naphthenic, mineral plasticising oils and polyol; unrecovered catalysts; fillers; primary and secondary antioxidants; neutralising agents; antistatic agents; slip agents; metal deactivators; quenchers; UV stabilisers; nucleating agents; flame retardants; blowing or foaming agents; anti-blocking agents; lubricants; or colourants
  • polyethylene with plasticisers glyceryl tribenzoate, polyethylene glycol, sunflower oil, paraffin wax, paraffin oil, mineral oil, glycerine, EPDM rubber and EVA polymer; initiators; promoters; unrecovered catalysts; fillers; anti-static agents; flame retardants; anti-blocking agents; slip agents; blowing agents; cross-linking agents; antioxidants; carbon black; or colourants
  • general purpose polystyrene, medium-impact polystyrene, high-impact polystyrene and super high-impact polystyrene with unrecovered catalysts; internal lubricants; chain transfer/transition agents; stabilisers; diluents; colourants; aluminium chloride, ethyl chloride or hydrochloric acid; iron oxide, potassium oxide or chromium oxide; or bifunctional peroxides
  • acrylonitrile butadiene styrene with the plasticisers hydrocarbon processing oil, triphenyl phosphate, resorcinol bis(diphenyl phosphate), oligomeric phosphate, long chain fatty acid esters and aromatic sulphonamide; stabilisers; lubricants; antioxidants; molecular weight regulators; initiators/unrecovered catalysts; activators; emulsifiers; or colourants.

The CPSC notes that the determination only relieves a manufacturer’s obligation to have the specified plastics and accompanying additives tested by a CPSC accepted third party conformity assessment body. Children’s toys and child care articles must still comply with the substantive phthalate content limits in section 108 of the CPSIA regardless of any relief on third party testing requirements. Should the CPSC issue a final rule making the interim prohibition on DINP permanent and adding DIBP, DPENP, DHEXP and DCHP to the prohibited list, it will modify the exemptions to cover the same phthalates restricted by the final phthalates rule.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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