Consumer Product Safety Commission / flickr US CPSC

On October 27, 2017, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) issued a final rule prohibiting children’s toys and child care articles that contain concentrations of more than 0.1 percent of certain phthalates.

What’s Prohibited

The final rule states children’s toys and child care articles containing concentrations of more than 0.1 percent of diisononyl phthalate (“DINP”), diisobutyl phthalate (“DIBP”), di-n-pentyl phthalate (“DPENP”), di-n-hexyl phthalate (“DHEXP”), and dischyclohexyl phthalate (“DCHP”) are prohibited.

Section 108 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (“CPSIA”) prohibits the manufacture for sale, offer for sale, distribution in commerce, or importation into the U.S. of any children’s toy or child care article that contains these concentrations of certain phthalates.  Children’s toys include consumer products designed or intended by the manufacturer for a child 12 years or younger for use by the child when the child plays.  A child care article is a consumer product designed or intended by the manufacturer to facilitate sleep or the feeding of children age 3 and younger, or to help such children with sucking or teething.

What Are Phthalates

The most common phthalate, DINP, is added to some plastics to make them flexible and is commonly found in automobile interiors, wire and cable insulation, gloves, tubing, garden hoses, and shoes.  DINP is also found in flexible vinyl materials that are used in the production of bedding, garments, outdoor products such as tents and book binders.  Non-PVC or vinyl products include inks, adhesives, sealants, paints and lacquers.  DINP is also a listed substance known to cause cancer under California’s Proposition 65 and products must provide a warning about exposure.

The CPSC determined that because DIBP, DPENP, DHEXP, and DCHP aren’t widely used, few manufacturers will be impacted and need to reformulate their products.  Examples of products containing these phthalates are coating products, fillers, plasters, binding agents, paints, adhesives,

Who’s Affected

The final rule expanded the interim rule concerning DINP to cover all children’s toys, not just those that can be placed in a child’s mouth.  Children’s toys that can be placed in a child’s mouth and child care articles containing more than 0.1 percent of DINP have been prohibited since 2009.  Manufacturers won’t have to reformulate products in these categories.  Only manufacturers of children’s toys that cannot be placed in a child’s mouth will be affected by the final rule.

The final rule applies to both domestic manufacturers and importers and will not be a barrier to international trade.  The prohibition involving DINP applies regardless of the origin of the DINP or the phthalate formulation used.  Children’s toys and child care articles containing DINP in concentrations greater than 0.1 percent are prohibited even if DINP was not intentionally added.

The final rule becomes effective April 25, 2018 and applies to products manufactured or imported on or after that date.