CPSC to Exempt Certain Plastics from Phthalates Testing

Final Rule is Culmination of Multi-Year Effort by The Toy Association to Work with CPSC to Alleviate Burdensome Third-Party Testing

August 29, 2017 | The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) unanimously approved a final rule exempting certain plastics from third-party phthalates testing based on the determination that the plastics would not contain the specified phthalates prohibited in children’s toys and child care articles. The final rule is a culmination of a multi-year effort by The Toy Association and its members to encourage the CPSC to find ways to reduce unnecessary and redundant third-party testing.

“We appreciate CPSC’s rulemaking as The Toy Association has long advocated on behalf of our members for a sensible exemption from the burden of expensive and unnecessary third-party testing,” says Steve Pasierb, president & CEO of The Toy Association. “On behalf of our members we salute the agency’s thoughtful work on the final rule and openness to our perspectives as we look to reduce testing burdens – while still demonstrating compliance and safety – for toy companies.”

The Toy Association has been working with the CPSC to find ways to reduce expensive testing costs for toy and children’s product manufacturers since a 2011 amendment to The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) required that the agency look for ways to reduce unnecessary testing costs. The Association has provided the CPSC with comments, data, and testimony to help the agency make the critical decision to exempt certain materials from unnecessary testing.

“Our members rightly expect us to be their voice and advocate on issues that impact their businesses both here at home and around the globe,” adds Pasierb. “U.S. toy companies are steadfast in their commitment to product safety and compliance, yet we are currently addressing a myriad of new legislative and regulatory challenges at the local, state, federal, and international levels on their behalf.”

In the CPSC’s draft rule published last August, four plastics were proposed to be exempt from phthalates testing:  polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE), high impact polystyrene (HIPS), and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). These plastics and three additional materials – general-purpose (sometimes referred to as “crystal”) polystyrene (GPPS or GPS), medium-impact polystyrene (MIPS), and super-high-impact polystyrene (SHIPS) grades – were exempted from testing in the final rule as well.

As per The Toy Association’s recommendation, CPSC clarified in the rule that only accessible parts that have been plasticized (and are not already exempt from this rule) are required to be tested. Prior to the rule, it was not clear if all materials needed to be tested, even if they weren’t plastic (e.g. metal, natural wood, etc.).  CPSC also clarified that this rule does not remove the flexibility granted by the 2009 guidance document, another issue The Toy Association wanted addressed in the final rule.  

The exemption goes into effect on September 29. 

For more information on the CPSC’s final rule, contact Autumn Moore, The Toy Association’s manager of standards and regulatory affairs.