On December 30, 2014, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) published a Proposed Rule (PR) in the Federal Register to prohibit the use of certain phthalates in children’s toys and child-care articles, when they are present at a concentration greater than 0.1 percent.
The PR stems from enactment of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), specifically Section 108(b), which requires the CPSC to assess whether the use of certain phthalates in children’s products should be banned because of safety concerns. The PR, now that it has been published, includes a 75-day public comment period. Interested parties can submit comments on the PR to the CPSC up until March 16, 2015. Once a Final Rule is published, the new requirements will take effect within 180 days.
If the PR is finalized as currently worded, it would permanently ban from use in children’s toys and child-care articles the following phthalates: DIBP (diisobutyl phthalate); DPENP (di-n-pentyl phthalate); DHEXP (di-n-hexyl phthalate); and DCHP (dicyclohexyl phthalate). It would also make the current interim ban on DINP (diisononyl phthalate) permanent. In addition, the new law would lift the interim ban on DNOP (di-n-octyl phthalate) and DCHP (dicyclohexyl phthalate). Child-care articles are those which are designed or intended by the manufacturer for a child ages three or younger to facilitate sleeping or feeding, or to help the child in sucking or teething. These articles include, but are not limited to, children’s sleepwear, infant and toddler bottles, sippy cups, utensils, bibs, pacifiers, and teethers.
In addition, the CPSIA had also required the CPSC to consider whether it is necessary to expand the scope of the phthalates restrictions to include all children’s products. However, the PR recommends that the phthalate ban not be expanded to cover all children’s products, as the available information currently suggests that increased exposure to phthalates from most children’s products outside of children’s toys and child-care articles would be negligible.
The PR follows the recommendations of the CPSC’s Chronic Hazard Advisory Panel (CHAP), which evaluated available data on the health risks posed to children by phthalates and provided its findings to the CPSC in a report released in July 2014.