Finally, after several months of languishing in conference committee (anybody remember 8th grade civics? different versions of bill pass, bill goes to Congressional conference committee to be hashed out), House and Senate lawmakers agreed on the final version of the consumer product reform bill that will rachet down the amount of lead allowed in children’s toys and ban certain phthalates in children’s toys. The bill will now go back to the House and Senate for approval, and then to President Bush for signature. There are no reports that he will veto it as of yet.
The legislation sets an allowable lead standard for lead in products designed for children 12 and younger at 600 ppm. The current standard of 600 ppm only applies to paints and coatings. Better yet, that 600 ppm will be reduced to 300 ppm after 1 year, and 100 ppm after three years. Plus, the CPSC can act to lower the standard if it wants.
The legislation also deals with phthalates. Three phthalates are banned outright and another 3 are outlawed pending completion of a study of their health effects in children.
And, under the legislation, a public database wll be created for disclosure of safety complaints. Right now, it is very difficult to get information about complaints. Basically, you have to file a request under the Freedom of Information Act. This new database is supposed to be established by the Consumer Product Safety Commission within two years.