Fri September 1, 2017

Ever since rulemaking commenced to implement the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA), the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) has been arguing before the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) that many types of plastics will not contain ortho-phthalates restricted by CPSIA in excess of the 0.1% concentration limit for children’s products.  Alongside partner trade associations, PLASTICS has repeatedly made the case in regulatory comments and public workshops that these plastic materials should be relieved of costly and unnecessary third-party testing requirements to demonstrate compliance with the phthalate content limits.

On August 30, 2017, nine years after CPSIA became law, CPSC has finally published a rule establishing “a high degree of assurance of compliance” with phthalate limits for seven plastic materials and specified additives, such that these materials need not undergo third-party testing.  The seven materials covered by this determination are those used most widely in children’s products and include polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and four grades of polystyrene (GPPS, MIPS, HIPS, SHIPS).

PLASTICS members serving the children’s product market are encouraged to review the rule and determine if your products, including resins and additive packages, are covered by the determination and exempt from third-party testing for compliance with phthalates limits.

PLASTICS wishes to thank our partners at the Toy Industry Association for commissioning studies that ultimately convinced CPSC to issue this determination.  We commend CPSC for taking an important step to alleviate the third-party testing burdens imposed on our industry by CPSIA. 

Background

Over the last nine years, the Government Affairs Subcommittee has led PLASTICS’ Food, Drug and Cosmetic Packaging Materials Committee (FDCPMC) in requesting from the CPSC public acknowledgement that many types of plastics will not contain restricted ortho-phthalates in excess of the 0.1% concentration limit introduced by the CPSIA, such that these plastics could be excluded from third-party testing required for their use in children’s products.  We’ve made detailed arguments for this exclusion throughout multiple rulemakings in comments and at workshops, and most recently we commented on CPSC’s August 2016 proposed rule that would relieve from testing requirements polypropylene, polyethylene, high-impact polystyrene, and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene used in children’s products.  While we commended the Commission for taking this step, we included in our comments corrections of several inaccuracies in the proposed rule and a list of other compliant plastics that should be subject to similar determinations. 

On August 22, 2017, CPSC voted unanimously to adopt the attached Draft Final Rule: Prohibition of Children’s Toys and Child Care Articles Containing Specified Phthalates: Determinations Regarding Certain Plastics.  The rule establishes that the following seven plastics and specified additives do not exceed the phthalates content limit:

  • General Purpose Polystyrene (GPPS)
  • Medium-Impact Polystyrene (MIPS)
  • Super High-Impact Polystyrene (SHIPS)
  • High-Impact Polystyrene (HIPS)
  • Polypropylene
  • Polyethylene
  • Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene

The final rule appeared  in the August 30th  Federal Register here (https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-08-30/pdf/2017-18387.pdf).  A detailed summary is available upon request from Kyra Douglas (kdouglas@plasticsindustry.org).  PLASTICS and our partner associations are pleased with the rule and grateful to CPSC for setting a precedent related to phthalate content in plastics that will inform other regulatory activities.  We would like to thank all who contributed time and expertise to our efforts toward this achievement over many years.