U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Set to Further Reduce Lead Content Limit for All Children’s Products

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In the wake of several toy recalls, the federal Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (“CPSIA”) imposed far-reaching requirements on consumer product manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers. Although its provisions have the potential to affect all members of the consumer product industry, the main focus of the CPSIA upon enactment was limiting the lead content of “children’s products.” Under the CPSIA, a “children’s product” is a consumer product primarily designed or intended for use by children ages 12 and under.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) previously implemented the CPSIA in a manner requiring the reduction of lead in surface coatings used on children’s products to less than 90 parts per million (“ppm”) and the reduction of the lead content of other accessible components of children’s products to 300 ppm. Although the CPSIA envisioned that the lead content standard would be further reduced to 100 ppm as of August 2011, Congress granted the CPSC authority to find that this would not be technically feasible. The CPSC previously made such a finding with regard to certain accessible lead-containing component parts in children’s electronic devices that were determined to be unable to meet the lead limits and components of electronic devices that are removable or replaceable, such as battery packs and light bulbs that are inaccessible when the product is assembled. As a result, many expected the CPSC to continue to evaluate the technological feasibility of a 100-ppm lead content limit on a category-by category basis.

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