WASHINGTON -- Next month, manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers of children's products must comply with the new 100 parts per million federal limits for total lead content in toys intended for children 12 and under.
The new guidelines, part of the Consumer Product Safety Commission's action pursuant to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, are the final stage in a phased-in reduction of lead levels that began with a 600 ppm standard on Feb. 10, 2009, then decreased to 300 ppm Aug. 14, 2009. All toys manufactured after this date are required to meet the new requirements.
The rules will take effect despite unsuccessful attempts by manufacturers outside the bulk vending industry to argue that a reduction of lead to 100 ppm is not practical from a technical standpoint. The commission voted on July 15, three to two, to enforce the new guidelines. While creating a need for stricter testing procedures, the new standards generally are seen as attainable by bulk vending suppliers.
The CPSC said the new lead content limit does not apply to inaccessible (internal) parts of children's products and certain components of children's electronic devices, such as connectors and plugs (including those in headphones).
CPSC chairman Inez Tenenbaum asserted that the decision on the statutorily mandated 100 parts per million lead limit, which is just 0.01%, is an important step forward in achieving the goal to "get the lead out" of toys and other children's products.
"Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of lead, a contaminant and a powerful neurotoxin that accumulates in the body over time," Tenenbaum explained. "Even exposure to small amounts can lead to irreversible IQ loss and behavioral problems in young children. Despite this widely known fact, in the recent past, the agency found itself conducting recall after recall to try to pull back from the market, and children's toy boxes, products with lead far in excess of allowable limits."
Also included in the CPSIA is a requirement for third-party testing, which will become effective Dec. 31.
"The decision by the CPSC to refuse to stay the decrease in lead content standards is no surprise," A&A Global Industry's Phil Brilliant told VENDING TIMES. "Congress made it crystal clear that products designed for children 12 and under must be made safe and held to the standards set forth in the CPSIA of 2008."