New Lead Content Limits for Children’s Products Begin Next Month
Manufacturers of children’s products will soon have to meet tougher lead standards when new rules goes into effect next month limiting the amount of lead that can be contained in certain products.
Last week, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) cleared the way for a new lead content limit of 100 parts per million (ppm) in products meant for children, in a 3 to 2 vote.
The new limits go into effect on August 14 and are meant to reduce the risk of lead exposure for children. The 100 ppm limit was a stated goal in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).
When the law was passed, Congress charged the CPSC to determine whether the new limit was technologically feasible. The CPSC has been following the CPSIA’s goal of lowering the lead limits in children’s products since 2009, starting with a 600 ppm limit set that February. In August 2009, the CPSC again dropped the lead limit to 300 ppm. But the 100 ppm lead limit was the ultimate goal dictated by the CPSIA.
CPSC staff found that there were enough materials commercially available that met the 100 ppm lead limit that manufacturers could use. They also found numerous products that were already in compliance with the limit.
The limit does not apply to inaccessible parts of children’s products, nor does it apply to certain parts of electronic devices, such as plugs. Manufacturers will eventually require third party testing, but enforcement of that requirement will not begin until the start of next year.
High levels of lead paint in children’s toys is heavily regulated due to the risk of long-term damage that may be caused by lead poisoning.
High levels of blood lead levels, which typically result from children ingesting lead paint chips that flakes off the walls of older homes, can result in nervous system injury, brain damage, seizures, growth or mental retardation, coma or even death. However, even low levels of lead exposure have been found to be potentially dangerous.
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