The level of total lead permitted in children’s products dropped from 300 parts per million (ppm) to 100 ppm beginning August 14, 2011.  The change came about after the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) determined that it was unable to find technological issues that would make the change unfeasible. The law exempts from the 100 ppm requirement inaccessible parts of children’s products and certain component parts of children’s electronic devices, like electronic connectors and plugs, including headphone plugs.  In addition, bicycles and their metal components will remain at a 300 ppm lead limit.  Compliance of children’s products will need to be certified by CPSC-certified third-party laboratories beginning December 31, 2011.

However, pending legislation will eliminate the application of the 100 ppm standard to products already in the marketplace, as originally required.  That legislation passed both chambers of Congress by wide margins, and President Obama signed the bill into law on August 12.

Manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers can petition CPSC to exempt product lines or individual products if they can demonstrate that it is not technologically feasible or, in the case of individual products, practicable to manufacture the products with 100 ppm of lead.