The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a final rule that certain materials do not exceed the lead content limits specified under section 101(a) of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA).

A copy of the new CPSC exemption rule can be found by clicking here.

The following materials do not exceed the lead content limits under section 101(a) of the CPSIA, provided that these materials have not been treated or adulterated with materials that could result in the addition of lead into the product:

(1) Precious gemstones: diamond, ruby, sapphire, emerald;

(2) Semiprecious gemstones and other minerals, provided that the mineral or material is not based on lead or lead compounds and is not associated in nature with any mineral based on lead or lead compounds (excluding any mineral that is based on lead or lead compounds including, but not limited to, the following: aragonite, bayldonite, boleite, cerussite, crocoite, galena, mimetite, phosgenite, vanadinite, and wulfenite);

(3) Natural or cultured pearls;

(4) Wood ;

(5) Paper and similar materials made from wood or other cellulosic fiber, including, but not limited to, paperboard, linerboard and medium, and coatings on such paper which become part of the substrate;

(6) CMYK process printing inks (excluding spot colors, other inks that are not used in CMYK process, inks that do not become part of the substrate under 16 CFR part 1303, and inks used in after-treatment applications, including screen prints, transfers, decals, or other prints);

(7) Textiles (excluding after-treatment applications, including screen prints, transfers, decals, or other prints) consisting of:

(a) Natural fibers (dyed or undyed) including, but not limited to, cotton, kapok, flax, linen, jute, ramie, hemp, kenaf, bamboo, coir, sisal, silk, wool (sheep), alpaca, llama, goat (mohair, cashmere), rabbit (angora), camel, horse, yak, vicuna, qiviut, guanaco;

(b) Manufactured fibers (dyed or undyed) including, but not limited to, rayon, azlon, lyocell, acetate, triacetate, rubber, polyester, olefin, nylon, acrylic, modacrylic, aramid, spandex;

(8) Other plant-derived and animal-derived materials including, but not limited to, animal glue, bee's wax, seeds, nut shells, flowers, bone, sea shell, coral, amber, feathers, fur, leather.

The CPSC also determined that certain metals and alloys do not exceed the lead content limits under section 101(a) of the CPSIA, provided that no lead or lead-containing metal is intentionally added. These include:

(1) Surgical steel and other stainless steel within the designations of Unified Numbering System, UNS S13800 S66286, not including the stainless steel designated as 303Pb (UNS S30360); and

(2) Precious metals: gold (at least 10 karat); sterling silver (at least 925/1000); platinum; palladium; rhodium; osmium; iridium; ruthenium, titanium.

The CPSC has stated that the determination that materials do not contain lead does not relieve a product from lead testing if the product or material is altered or modified so as to exceed the lead content limits

Important Practice Pointer:

The CPSC has stated that material safety data sheets (MSDS) are insufficient for purposes of demonstrating compliance with the lead limits. (See, 74 FR at 10478)

The CPSC is aware that there are many questions regarding component part testing and certification for lead content given that children's product may be made with a number of materials and component parts. The questions regarding testing and certification are significant because not all component parts may need to be tested if they fall under the scope of the exclusions approved by the CPSC.

The CPSC provides examples pertinent to the testing issue, noting that component parts would not need to be tested if they: (1) are inaccessible, as set forth under the Commission's regulations at 16 CFR 1500.87; (2) are or contain an electronic device exempt under the CPSC's regulations at 16 CFR 1500.88; or (3) are made of material determined by CPSC to fall under lead content limits.

However, all other accessible component parts in a product still need to tested and certified under section 102 of the CPSIA. The CPSC intends to address component part testing and the establishment of protocols and standards for ensuring that children's products are tested for compliance with applicable children's products safety rules, as well as products that fall within an exemption, in an upcoming rulemaking.