The end of bling? CPSC Publishes Proposed Rule for CPSIA Lead Content Exemptions

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has published its proposed rule governing procedures and requirements for lead content exemptions and exclusions under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). 

Any manufacturer or trade group seeking an exemption from the CPSIA’s total lead content limit for children’s product should read the proposed rule carefully.  The CPSC is requiring very specific information to support a request for an exclusion – information that may not be available or may be expensive to develop for some particular items.  The CPSC is proposing to require the following information to support these types of requests: 

For a determination exempting a particular product or material because it has no lead or lead levels below the applicable statutory limits (such as a request for dyed and undyed natural fibers), the requestor must supply: 

  1. A detailed description of the product or material;
  2. Representative data on the lead content in the product or parts of the product or the materials used in the production of the product;
  3. All data and information on the manufacturing processes by which lead could be added to the product or materials;
  4. All data on the facilities used to manufacture the product;
  5. An assessment on the likelihood that leaded materials in a particular facility will result in lead contamination of the material or product;
  6. Any other information on the potential for the lead content of the product or material to exceed the statutory lead content limit in effect;
  7. Detailed information on the tests methods used to measure lead content.  The CPSC specifically states that material safety data sheets (MSDSs) are NOT sufficient to satisfy this requirement;
  8. Any unfavorable information that is reasonably available to the person requesting the exemption.

For a determination excluding a particular product or material because it exceeds the lead content limits but it will not result in the absorption of any lead into the body, taking into account normal and reasonably foreseeable use and abuse by a child, the requestor must submit best available, objetive, peer reviewed, scientific evidence showing the following: 

  1. A detailed description of the product or material;
  2. Representative data on the lead content of parts of the product or materials used in the production of the product;
  3. All relevant data on the manufacturing processes by which lead could be introduced to the materials or product;
  4. All information relevant to the potential for the lead content of the product to exceed the statutory limits for lead;
  5. Detailed information on tests methods for measuring lead content in the product and information on why this data set is representative of the products or materials generally;
  6. An assessment of the manufacturing processes which strongly supports a conclusion that they would not be a source of lead contamination;
  7. Best available, objective, peer reviewed, scientific evidence that demonstrates that the normal and reasonably foreseeable use and abuse activity by a child and aging of the material or product will not result in the absorption of lead into the body nor have any otehr adverse impact on health or safety.  This information must address how much lead is present in the product, how much comes out of the product, and the conditions under which such may happen and information relating to a child’s interaction; and
  8. Best available, objective, peer reviewed, scientific evidence that is unfavorable to the requst.

So does this spell the end of bling in children’s products?  Crystals – the real ones, not the plastic imitiations – are leaded glass.  And leaded glass crystals fail the total lead content limit of 600 ppm.  Various trade groups have requested an exemption for crystals, and laid out their case in a petition filed with the CPSC.  This petition was filed before the CPSC published the proposed rule in its current form, and it seems that the petition does not provide all of the required information.  In particular, it is light on the peer reviewed data – and I think that this is where a lot of petitions may fail.  Peer reviewed data may not exist to support exemptions, and it takes time to develop.  So, we may not see completed requests for exemptions any time soon, depending on whether the CPSC sticks to this requirement. 

And this is unfortunate news for many small businesses.  I know a handful of businesses that have large inventories of blinged out children’s products – inventory that they cannot now sell.  I’m not sure how much of a risk a blinged out baseball cap is – it certainly seems to be a much smaller risk of exposure than say, lead in household dust.  I’d rather see money spent educating about simple steps to reduce exposure to lead in household dust than going after blinged out baseball caps.

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  1. […] is this? Because a lot of bling can’t pass the lead content limits. Most true crystals – meaning glass with lead added […]

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