The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted on July 13, 2011, to require children’s products sold in the United States to adhere to a 100 parts per million (ppm) lead-content limit. The 3-2 vote followed a June 29 commission compliance data report finding it technologically feasible for product manufacturers and sellers to reduce the allowable amount of lead in children’s products from 300 to 100 ppm. According to CPSC staff, materials containing less than 100 ppm total lead content are commercially available for manufacturers, and many tested products currently on the market already comply with the new limit.
Effective August 14, the new rule was required under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), which called for a three-year phase-in period starting in 2009, with the final total lead limit set at 100 ppm unless CPSC determined it was not technologically feasible. According to CPSC, the new lead limit does not apply to internal parts of children’s products and certain component parts for children’s electronic devices, such as connectors and headphone plugs. CPSC will not enforce CPSIA’s independent third-party testing requirement for total lead content until December 31, because of a stay of enforcement already in place. The stay does not apply to children’s metal jewelry, which currently requires independent third-party testing.
Meanwhile, the commission has reportedly voted unanimously to impose a stay of enforcement on third-party testing of children’s toys until after the winter holidays. The accreditation requirements for third-party conformity laboratories will not take effect until December 31 allowing home crafters to simply provide general conformance certificates, indicating compliance with child product safety rules. Small business interests apparently appreciated the delay, but maintain that after the new deadline “handmade toys will be illegal.” See Law360, July 13, 2011; CPSC News Release, July 15, 2011; BNA Product Safety & Liability Reporter, July 20, 2011; Federal Register, July 26, 2011.