CPSC : Phtalates Ban does not apply to Sporting Goods

There’s good news to report on the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) ban on phthalates in ‘children’s toys.’ According to information posted on the CPSC website, sporting goods (except for toy versions of a sporting good) are exempted from the definition of a toy and not subject to the ban on phthalates in toys. It also exempts bicycles, playground equipment, and musical instruments.

 “SGMA is very pleased with the clarity CPSC has provided on the application of the phthalates ban,” said Bill Sells, SGMA’s vice president – government relations. “Since the passage of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA), SGMA has sought a sporting goods exemption from the phthalate ban. We consider the CPSC exemption for sporting goods consistent with the intention of the CPSIA. The exemption will save SGMA members millions of dollars since sporting goods products will not have to be destroyed. This is a great victory for SGMA and its member companies.”

Beginning on February 10, children’s toys and child care articles cannot contain more that 0.1% of six phthalates (DEHP, DBP, BBP, DINP, DIDP, and DnOP). The CPSC will abide by a February 5, 2009 court decision ruling that the prohibition on phthalates in the CPSIA applies to products in inventory, regardless of when they were manufactured. Phthalates are a group of chemicals (oily, colorless liquids) that are used, among other things, to make vinyl and other plastics soft and flexible. The statute’s broad definition of a “children’s toy” as “a product intended for use by a child 12 years of age or younger for use when it plays,” created confusion over application of the ban related to sporting goods. The statute also prohibits phthalates over the limit in “child care articles,” which include products that a child three and younger would use for sleeping, feeding, sucking or teething. For example, a pacifier/teether would be an item that would help a child with sucking or teething; a sippy cup would facilitate feeding; and a crib mattress would facilitate sleeping.

Under the CPSIA, starting February 10, 2009, companies producing “children’s toys” or “child care articles” must meet their reporting obligations and immediately notify the Commission if they learn of a “children’s toy” or “child care article” that exceeds the new phthalates limits.

Companies also should know that the CPSIA generally prohibits the export for sale of “children’s toys” and “child care articles” that exceed the new phthalates limits. The agency will be issuing further guidance information very soon.