Last night, two days after the phthalates ban went into effect, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued an interim enforcement policy and proposed guidance on the phthalate limits imposed by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008.

Interim Enforcement Policy for Phthalate Requirements

CPSC has stated that it will focus its enforcement efforts on those products most likely to pose a risk of phthalate exposure to children. Therefore, CPSC is focusing its resources on toys and child care products that can be placed a child's mouth.

  • Primary enforcement efforts will be on bath toys, other small, plastic toys, teethers, rattles and pacifiers;
  • The agency will give special scrutiny to toys and child care products that are made of or with PVC (polyvinyl chloride).
  • The agency will consider any product that has a part less than 5 cm in any dimension will be considered capable of being mouthed.

Proposed Phthalate Guidance

The agency also issued a proposed guidance for compliance with the phthalate ban. CPSC's initial proposals include:

  • Adoption of the exclusions from the definition of "toy" contained in ASTM 963-7, thus harmonizing its efforts with that now-mandatory standard;
  • Children's sporting equipment would be excluded; however, general purpose balls and balls that are used in toy sports sets (e.g., foam or plastic baseballs or footballs) would be subject to the ban;
  • Ordinary books are excluded; Books that make sounds, are meant for the bath, or that otherwise might incorporate plastic are subject to the ban
  • With regard to child care articles, articles that go in the mouth (e.g., pacifiers, teethers), have direct contact with the child (e.g.; bibs, blankets), or in close proximity to the child (e.g., cribs, crib bedding) will be considered primary products for enforcement purposes.

CPSC has asked for comment on all aspects of the guidance, including additional points that should be addressed. Comments are due 30 days after publication of the proposal in the Federal Register. Assuming publication next week, the due date would be sometime around the second week in March.