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Maine Designates Formaldehyde, Certain Phthalates as Priority Chemicals

Maine has issued two final rules designating formaldehyde and four phthalates (di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP) and diethyl phthalate (DEP)) as priority chemicals in children's products under the Toxic Chemicals in Children's Products law. Last year Maine designated arsenic, cadmium and mercury as priority chemicals in children's products but declined to adopt a similar rule for formaldehyde due ostensibly to the strong opposition of business groups in the state and across the country.

As a result of this action, manufacturers of a range of consumer articles intended for use by a child under the age of 12 years that contain intentionally-added formaldehyde or any of the four phthalates will be required to report certain information to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection no later than 180 days from the entry into force of the rules (i.e., by 19 December in the case of certain phthalates and 23 December in the case of formaldehyde). If the sale of the regulated children's product does not commence until after the 180-day reporting period ends, the required notice must be submitted within 30 days of the sale of the children's product in Maine.

Products affected by the formaldehyde final rule include bedding, childcare articles, clothing, cosmetics, craft supplies, footwear, games, jewellery and embellishments, safety seats, occasion supplies, personal accessories, personal care products, school supplies and toys. Products affected by the phthalates final rule include clothing, footwear, craft supplies, building and home maintenance products, cosmetic and personal care products, household and commercial cleaning products, household furniture and furnishings, and personal accessories and jewellery.

The required information includes (i) the name and address of the manufacturer as well as the name, address and phone number of a contact person for the manufacturer; (ii) a description of the product or products containing the priority chemical, including the overall size of the product and/or the component of the product that contains the chemical and whether the product or priority chemical-containing component of the product can be placed in the mouth (if a reportable item is smaller than five centimetres in one dimension it is regarded as mouthable); (iii) the number of items sold or distributed in Maine or nationally; (iv) the amount of the priority chemical in the product reported; (v) the function of the priority chemical in the product reported; and (vi) any other information the manufacturer deems relevant to the reporting of the chemical, such as relevant independent scientific studies on exposure specific to the amount of chemical present in the finished product reported or a product of similar functionality.

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