U.S. Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is an independent federal regulatory agency that protects the public from unnecessary harm or death due to use of consumer products. One way they do this is to establish and enforce standards against dangerous consumer products. On August 14, 2008, Congress passed the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008. This law was necessary to “establish consumer product safety standards and other safety requirements for children's products and to reauthorize and modernize the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.”1

The children's products addressed were products containing lead, lead paint, the labeling of toys and games concerning choking hazards, the sale of recalled products, the restriction of phthalates, and a new mandatory standard for toys.2

Immediately upon the passage of the Safety Improvement Act, it became illegal to sell recalled products. Six months later, in February of 2009, it became illegal to sell any children's products that contained more than 600 ppm of lead or if they had more than 0.1% of di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), or benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP).3 Baby teethers, rattles, pacifiers, and toys made of polyvinyl chloride, such as bath toys, are a major phthalate concern.4

Lead content limits were further lowered to 300 ppm on children's products by August of 2009 and to 100 ppm by August of 2011. Children’s products that are painted, or have surface coatings, are also subject to the lead paint limit in addition to the lead content limits. Manufacturers of lead paint were required to reduce lead limits to 90 ppm for consumer use by August of 2009.5

By February of 2009, the ASTM International (ASTM) Standard F963-07 Consumer Safety Specifications for Toy Safety became the new ruling toy standard. The Safety Improvement Act also mandated further investigation of children's products relating to magnets, toxic substances, toys with spherical ends, hemispheric-shaped objects, cords, straps, and elastics, and battery-operated toys.6 Children's products are defined as any products manufactured or sold for children ages 12 years old and younger.

Also by February 2009, all toys which require a choking caution must also include the same caution in their online and print advertising.7 Further standards for third party product testing, tracking labels, all-terrain vehicles, and durable nursery products, such as cribs, high chairs, and strollers, were also enacted.8

Perhaps just as important in the Safety Improvement Act of 2008 were the provisions to reauthorize the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and to extend their enforcement authority. These provisions included improving the administration of the commission, the establishment of a consumer product safety database, and protections for whistleblowers.9

  • 1. “An Act.” Public Law 110-314-Aug. 14, 2008. 122 Stat. 3016. Consumer Product Safety Commission. < http://www.cpsc.gov/cpsia.pdf > 22 June 2011.
  • 2. “CPSC Clarifies Requirements of New Children's Product Safety Laws Taking Effect in February.” News from CPSC. < http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml09/09086.html > 22 June 2011.
  • 3. “Section 108. Prohibition on sale of certain products containing specified phthalates.” Public Law 110-314-Aug. 14, 2008. 122 Stat. 3036. Consumer Product Safety Commission. < http://www.cpsc.gov/cpsia.pdf > 6 July 2011.
  • 4. “CPSC Developing Practical Guidance For Meeting Phthalates Requirements In New Child Safety Law; Public Input Sought.” News from CPSC. < http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml09/09130.html > 6 July 2011.
  • 5. “Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act: Section 101. Children's Products Containing Lead; Lead Paint Rule.” US Consumer Product Safety Commission. < http://www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/sec101.html > 22 June 2011.
  • 6. “Section 106. Mandatory toy safety standards.” Public Law 110-314-Aug. 14, 2008. 122 Stat. 3033. Consumer Product Safety Commission. < http://www.cpsc.gov/cpsia.pdf > 6 July 2011.
  • 7. “Section 105. Labeling Requirement for Advertising Toys and Games.” Public Law 110-314- Aug. 14, 2008. 122 Stat. 3031-3032. Consumer Product Safety Commission. < http://www.cpsc.gov/cpsia.pdf > 10 July 2011.
  • 8. Op.cit., “An Act.” 122 Stat. 3016-3017.
  • 9. Op.cit., “An Act.” 122 Stat. 3016-3017.