The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has finally published its Final Rule on phthalates. CPSC first proposed the rule nearly three years ago, and its publication brings to eight the number of phthalates included in CPSC’s consumer product safety standard for children’s toys and child care articles.

The rule is effective April 25, 2018 – but in a move that is likely to have serious implications for importers of record, it applies to children’s toys and child care articles domestically manufactured or imported on or after that date, regardless of date of manufacture. These products will need to be tested for all eight phthalates by a third party CPSC-approved testing lab and certified as compliant by the manufacturer or importer of record. Importers of record will need to consider how to approach certification if they import products with significant gaps between time of manufacture overseas and importation.

What changed?

The current version of Section 108 prohibits the phthalates DEHP, DBP, and BBP in concentrations above 0.1 percent (1,000 parts per million) in children’s toys and child care articles. CPSIA defines a children’s toy as “a consumer product designed or intended by the manufacturer for a child who is 12 years old or younger for use by the child when the child plays.” It defines a child care article as “a consumer product designed or intended by the manufacturer to facilitate sleep or the feeding of children age 3 and younger, or to help such children with sucking or teething.”

The Final Rule now also restricts the following five phthalates to 1,000 ppm:

  • DINP
  • DIBP
  • DCHP

Import disaster

With regard to the issue of import date, in its rulemaking file, CPSC stated that it “expects that the rule will require minimal changes for manufacturers and testing laboratories. Therefore 180 days from publication in the Federal Register should be sufficient time for the rule to take effect.”  On the contrary, we expect CPSC and CBP will have a mess on their hands in April.