Art materials for consumers of all ages must comply with a number of requirements under federal law. Art materials that are designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger must meet additional requirements, which are described below.
An “art material” or “art material product” means any substance marketed or represented by the producer or repackager as suitable for use in any phase of the creation of any work of visual or graphic art of any medium and packaged in sizes intended for individual users of any age or those participating in a small group.
Federal law requires that all art materials offered for sale to consumers of all ages in the United States undergo a toxicological review of the complete formulation of each product to determine the product’s potential for producing adverse chronic health effects and that the art materials be properly labeled for acute and chronic hazards, as required by the Labeling of Hazardous Art Materials Act (LHAMA) and the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA), respectively.
- Chronic Hazard Review Performed by a Toxicologist
All formulations of art materials that are offered for sale to consumers of all ages in the United States must be evaluated by a toxicologist for their potential to cause adverse chronic health effects, before these products are offered for sale. Each producer or re-packager of art materials must describe in writing the criteria used to determine whether an art material has the potential for producing chronic adverse health effects. The criteria must be submitted to the Commission's Division of Regulatory Management for review and approval. CPSC published Chronic Hazard Guidelines to assist manufacturers in complying with the requirements of the FHSA and LHAMA. See the law, LHAMA, Public Law No. 100-695n or 16 CFR § 1500.14(a)(8), for more information.
After a toxicologist performs the chronic hazard review, the product must bear a conformance statement that reads: “Conforms to ASTM Practice D-4236”; “Conforms to ASTM D-4236”; or “Conforms to the health requirements of ASTM D-4236.” The ASTM D-4236 conformance statement can be placed on the product, on an outer container (for a kit), on an invoice for the product, or on a retail display, as long as the consumer is informed that the product’s formulation has been reviewed. The toxicologist will then recommend whether precautionary labeling is required, and if so, recommend the appropriate precautionary labeling. The precautionary label shall contain include a 24-hour, cost-free U.S. telephone number, or other source for additional health information.
- Acute and Chronic Hazard Labeling by a Manufacturer
In addition, the FHSA requires that a manufacturer affix cautionary labeling to household substances, including art materials, for certain acute and chronic hazards if those substances meet the definition of “hazardous substance” under the FHSA. See 15 U.S.C. § 1261(2)(q) and the FHSA Regulatory Summary for more information.
Note that while a toxicologist is required to perform the chronic hazard review, a toxicologist is not required to conduct the acute hazard review for the art material. Nevertheless, a manufacturer bears the responsibility to ensure that the product is properly labeled for both (i) acute and (ii) chronic hazards. A manufacturer may – but is not required to – enlist the assistance of a toxicologist or any qualified person with appropriate expertise to assist them. In many cases, a reviewing toxicologist should be able to provide a review for both chronic and acute hazards, if the manufacturer does not have the expertise, and to recommend appropriate labeling.
In addition, if an art material product is found to present an acute or chronic hazard, the product would require cautionary labeling. The labeling would be based on the type of hazard identified.
In addition to the LHAMA requirements discussed above, art materials – such as paint brushes and stencils – that are designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger, are also required, like all children’s products, to comply with the requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA). These requirements include complying with the 90 parts per million limit on lead in surface coatings or paint and the 100 parts per million limit on total lead content in a product’s substrate.
- Banned Hazardous Substances
Children’s art materials that contain substances that meet the definition of “hazardous substance” under the FHSA may be banned hazardous substances if the hazardous substance is accessible by children and the child is not old enough to read and heed instructions. However, there are certain exemptions described in the CPSC’s Art and Craft Safety Guide. These exemptions are summarized below.
The CPSIA also requires that manufacturers (this term includes importers) of children’s art materials must test and certify compliance of such products before importing the products or distributing them in commerce. Manufacturers must submit samples of their product to a third party laboratory whose accreditation has been accepted by the CPSC to test for compliance with all applicable children’s product safety rules. Based on that testing, the manufacturer must issue a Children’s Product Certificate, specifying each applicable rule, and indicating that the product complies with those rules. No third party testing or certification is required for LHAMA or the FHSA.
For example, for an art kit intended for children 12 years of age or younger that contains paint and a paint brush, the paint would need to be labeled properly and have its formulation reviewed by a toxicologist, as discussed above. In addition, the paint and the brush would need to be tested by a CPSC-accepted laboratory for compliance with, respectively, the lead paint limit of 90 parts per million and the lead content limit of 100 parts per million. Then, the manufacturer would need to issue a Children’s Product Certificate that lists all applicable safety rules and certifies that the paint brush and paint comply with those rules based on the testing results.
- Tracking Labels
Children’s art materials must have a tracking label or other distinguishing permanent mark. The tracking label shall be a permanent distinguishing mark on the product and its packaging, to the extent practicable, and must contain certain basic information, including: (1) the name of the manufacturer or private labeler, (2) the location and date of manufacture, and (3) cohort information, such as a batch or run number.
- Art and Craft Safety Guide
- Labeling of Hazardous Art Materials Act (LHAMA) 16 C.F.R. § 1500.14(a)(8)
- Enforcement Policy (60 FR 8188, Feb. 13, 1995)
- Clarification to Enforcement Policy (60 FR 198, Oct. 13, 1995)
- Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA) Business Guidance
- Chronic Hazard Guidelines (57 FR 197, Oct. 9, 1992)
- Art Materials at Import Webinar (YouTube), click here for the slide deck
Examples of art materials include, but are not limited to: ceramics and clay, chalk, stencils, colored pencils, crayons, glue, including white craft glue, jewelry-making kits, markers, paints, painting kits, polymer clay packs, certain stickers (described below), and watercolor discs.
In addition to the art materials described above, there are - other types of products, such as paint brushes and various tools, - for which the CPSC has a specific enforcement policy regarding the LHAMA requirements. For purposes of enforcement, the Commission will not consider the following types of products that fail to meet the requirements of 16 CFR § 1500.14(b)(8)(i) through (iii) to constitute sufficient grounds for bringing an enforcement action under LHAMA:
- Products whose intended general use is not to create art (e.g., common wood pencils, and single colored pens, markers, and chalk), unless the particular product is specifically packaged, promoted, or marketed in a manner that would lead a reasonable person to conclude that it is intended for use as an art material. Factors the Commission would consider in making this determination include how an item is packaged (e.g., unless promoted for non-art material usage, packages of multiple colored pencils, chalks, or markers are likely to be viewed as art materials and subject to enforcement action); how it is marketed and promoted (e.g., pencils and pens intended specifically for sketching and drawing are likely to be art materials); and where it is sold (e.g., products sold in an art supply store are likely to be art materials).
- Tools, implements, and furniture, used in the creation of a work of art, such as brushes, chisels, easels, picture frames, drafting tables and chairs, canvas stretchers, potter’s wheels, hammers, air pumps for air brushes, kilns, and molds.
- Surface materials upon which an art material is applied, such as coloring books and canvas, unless, as a result of processing or handling, the consumer is likely to be exposed to a chemical in or on the surface material in a manner which makes that chemical susceptible to being ingested, absorbed, or inhaled.
- The following materials, whether used as a surface or applied to one, unless, as a result of processing or handling, the consumer is likely to be exposed to a chemical in or on the surface material, in a manner which makes that chemical susceptible to being ingested, absorbed, or inhaled: paper, cloth, plastics, films, yarn, threads, rubber, sand, wood, stone, tile, masonry, and metal.
See 16 C.F.R. § 1500.14(b)(8)(iv).
Please note that art materials designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger must still comply with, and be third party tested and certified to, the CPSIA requirements discussed above.
Under the LHAMA requirements at 16 C.F.R. § 1500.14(b)(8)(i)(C)(1), the producer or repackager of art materials must submit art materials product formulation(s) or reformulation(s) to a toxicologist to have the product assessed for the potential to cause adverse chronic health effects before the products are entered into commerce.
The regulation also requires the manufacturer or repackager to submit to the CPSC, the criteria that the toxicologist uses to complete the assessment of the product, along with a list of art materials contained in the product that require chronic hazard warning labels under LHAMA. The submission requirement is at 16 C.F.R. § 1500.14(b)(8)(ii)(C). Submissions can be made to Sect15@cpsc.gov
The regulation defines a “toxicologist” as an individual who, through education, training, and experience, has expertise in the field of toxicology as it relates to human exposure, and is either a toxicologist or physician certified by a nationally recognized certification board.
While Congress intended the toxicological review to be performed by a Board Certified Toxicologist, the Commission, in enforcing the LHAMA requirements is primarily concerned that the person reviewing formulations has sufficient knowledge, based on a combination of education, training, and experience and that the reviewer uses appropriate criteria to recommend complete and accurate labeling.
This list of toxicologists performing art material reviews under the LHAMA is for convenience only, and the CPSC does not endorse or certify any of the toxicologists listed. Any toxicologist with appropriate expertise may conduct this review.
The FHSA and the LHAMA amendment do not address “non-hazards”; therefore, the term “non-toxic” is not defined by the regulation. The staff, in its interpretation of the regulation, has not prohibited the use of the word non-toxic on substances that are not required to bear any cautionary labeling for hazards under the FHSA or LHAMA. The toxicologist who performs the chronic hazard review could provide data indicating that a substance does not pose a hazard. In that circumstance, the decision to characterize a product as non-toxic rests with the manufacturer.
Not at this time. CPSC staff does not consider art materials to be subject to the requirements for phthalates under section 108 of the CPSIA. CPSC staff is using the definition of toys set forth in ASTM F 963 to determine which products are subject to Section 108. If an art material is packaged with a toy, however, the toy must still comply with certain requirements, including the toy safety standard and the phthalates requirements. Please continue to monitor the CPSC’s Web page on phthalates for the most current guidance regarding products subject to the phthalates requirements.
A Chronic Hazard Advisory Panel (CHAP) is currently studying phthalates, and currently, labeling is not required for any of the banned phthalates under LHAMA or FHSA.
The regulation at 16 C.F.R. § 1500.14(b)(8)(i)(C)(6) states: “[T]he producer or repackager shall have a toxicologist review as necessary, but at least every 5 years, art material product formulation(s) and associated label(s) based upon the then-current, generally accepted, well-established scientific knowledge.”
In addition, the regulation at 16 C.F.R § 1500.14(b)(8)(ii)(E) states: “[I]f an art material producer or repackager becomes newly aware of any significant information regarding the hazards of an art material or ways to protect against the hazard, this new information must be incorporated into the labels of such art materials that are manufactured after 12 months from the date of discovery. If a producer or repackager reformulates an art material, the new formulation must be evaluated and labeled in accordance with the standard set forth at § 1500.14(b)(8)(i).”
A change in supplier of a component of a product is considered a change in the product formulation and does require reevaluation of the product formulation by a toxicologist.
Evaluation of all available package sizes of a product with the exact same formula would not be required under the LHAMA, unless package size would affect exposure. Under 16 C.F.R. § 1500.14(b)(8)(i)(D)(2)(iii), specific physical and chemical forms of the art materials product, bioavailability, concentration, and the amount of each potentially chronic toxic component in the formulation shall be considered in the determination of labeling. Therefore, we suggest that you have the largest size package evaluated, and label the other sizes accordingly.
A 24-hour emergency management or 800 number is required only for those products requiring chronic hazard labeling. (15 U.S.C. § 1277(b)(5)).
Staff will generally refrain from enforcement, unless there is reason to believe that the nature of a particular sticker and its intended use present a genuine risk of exposure to a potential chemical hazard either by ingestion or absorption. Staff believes that self-adhesive stickers present little risk or potential to cause adverse chronic health effects, unless there is something very unusual about the sticker. Paper stickers marketed or promoted as art materials often have an adhesive backing that users lick. The act of licking the backing can result in the ingestion of chemicals, and LHAMA requirements should be followed. If the stickers are intended to be applied to the body, then the stickers would be considered body art and would be under the jurisdiction of the FDA.
For purposes of enforcement policy, the Commission will not consider as sufficient grounds for bringing an enforcement action under LHAMA the failure of the following types of products to meet the requirements of § 1500.14(b)(8) (i) through (iii):
Surface materials upon which an art material is applied, such as coloring books and canvas, unless, as a result of processing or handling, the consumer is likely to be exposed to a chemical in or on the surface material in a manner which makes that chemical susceptible to being ingested, absorbed, or inhaled. 16 C.F.R. §1500.14(b)(8)(iv).
CPSC has compiled a list of toxicologists and organizations who can provide assistance with the chronic hazard review for art materials. Note that CPSC does not approve, certify, or endorse any particular firm/individual or their services.