CPSC proposes new ban on phthalates in children's products.

Regular readers know that in terms of domestic, national regulation, we usually focus on developments coming out of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In the U.S., the EPA is the principal federal agency that regulates chemicals in products, but it’s not the only one. Last month, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) approved for publication a proposed rule prohibiting the use in children’s toys and child care articles of certain phthalates, a type of plasticizer used in teethers, plastic toys, home furnishings, and cosmetics.

The rule expands the existing “permanent ban” on phthalates at levels greater than 0.1% in accessible plasticized components of toys and child care products. Diisononyl phthalate (DINP) is shifted from the “interim ban” list and di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), and butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP) remain on the “permanent ban” list. The rule also adds to the “permanent ban list” the following: diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP), di-n-pentyl phthalate (DPENP), di-n-hexyl phthalate (DHEXP), and dicyclohexyl phthalate (DCHP) in concentrations greater than 0.1%. Two other phthalates, diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP) and di-n-octyl phthalate (DnOP), were removed from the “interim ban” list.

The Commission proposed the rule under § 108 the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), which requires promulgation of regulations in response to the Chronic Hazard Advisory Panel’s report and recommendations on the health effects of phthalates in children’s toys and child care articles. Under the CPSIA, a “child care article” is “a consumer product designed or intended by the manufacturer to facilitate sleep or the feeding of children age 3 and younger, or to help such children with sucking or teething.”

The Commission is accepting public comment on the proposed rule through March 16, 2015.