Phthalates

Six types of phthalates are currently banned for use in children's toys and certain child care articles in the amounts described on this page.

 

An example of a product that may have phthalates is a product like a children's rubber duck - the flexible plastic feel may be from the use of phthalates in the manufacturing process. This page provides information for businesses seeking guidance on how to comply with the federal consumer product safety rules on phthalates.

 

What are phthalates?

Phthalates are chemical plasticizers that are often used in the production of many types of plastics, certain inks, paints, and other products.

 

What is the ban on phthalates in children's toys and child care articles?

Congress has permanently banned three types of phthalates (DEHP, DBP, BBP)1 in any amount greater than 0.1 percent (computed for each phthalate, individually) in (1) children's toys and (2) certain child care articles.

 

A "children's toy" is defined 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.

 

"Child care articles" are defined as consumer products that are designed or intended by the manufacturer for a child who is 3 years old or younger, to facilitate sleeping or feeding, or to help a child who is sucking or teething.

 


Congress has also banned (on an interim basis) three additional types of phthalates (DINP, DIDP, DnOP)2 in any amount greater than 0.1 percent (computed for each phthalate individually) in (1) a children's toy that can be placed in a child's mouth, and (2) child care articles.

 

Please note that the interim ban on DINP, DIDP, and DnOP only applies to children's toys that can be placed in a child's mouth. A toy that can be placed in a child's mouth is defined as any part of a toy that actually can be brought to the child's mouth and kept there so that it can be sucked or chewed on. If a toy or a part of the toy is smaller than 5 centimeters, it can be placed in the mouth.

 

This Web page and the FAQs refer to both bans as the "ban on phthalates."

 

Is third party testing and certification required for the ban on phthalates?

Yes. Third party testing and certification is required for the children's toys and child care articles that are described above. A full description of the covered products is included in the FAQs. The effective enforcement date is January 1, 2012 and applies to products manufactured after December 31, 2011. Remember that compliance with the underlying ban itself is currently required regardless of the date when testing and certification begins.

 

Does the ban on phthalates apply to the children's toys and child care articles as a whole, or to just the plasticized parts?

The ban on phthalates applies only to plasticized component parts (or other product parts which could conceivably contain phthalates) of children's toys and child care articles and only those parts of the product should be third party tested for phthalates. It is unnecessary to test and certify materials that are known not to contain phthalates or to certify that phthalates are absent from materials that are known not to contain phthalates.

 

Third party testing only the parts of the children's toy or child care article with plasticized component parts is designed to avoid dilution of the concentration of phthalates that can occur when the entire product is tested.

 

Does the ban on phthalates in children's toys and child care articles apply to inaccessible parts?

No. The ban does not apply to component parts that are inaccessible to a child. A part is "inaccessible" if it is has a sealed covering or casing and will not become physically exposed through reasonably foreseeable use and abuse of the product. Reasonable foreseeable use and abuse includes swallowing, mouthing, breaking or other children's activities, and the aging of the product.

 

Where can I find the law?

Section 108 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) (pdf). Additional requirements related to the ban on phthalates were added in section 5 of H.R. 2715, Pub. L. No. 112-28 (August 12, 2011), which amended the CPSIA.

 

Resources

 

Unless otherwise noted, all policy guidance provided here is in effect regardless of the date or title of the relevant documents.

 


1di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), or benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP).
2diisononyl phthalate (DINP), diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP), or di-n-octyl phthalate (DnOP).

This communication has been prepared for general informational purposes only and is based upon the facts and information presented. This communication does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice and has not been reviewed or approved by the Commission, and does not necessarily represent their views. Any views expressed in this communication may be changed or superseded by the Commission.