20 August 2009

Important CPSIA Update: Final Rule

The CPSIA Commission yesterday (19 August 2009) released its Final Rule on lead determinations. This 65-page document includes final determinations on requested exemptions, and the explanations for why each determination was made. Most notable improvements/ exemptions are the following:
  • Textiles in general, both natural and synthetic, have been exempted from mandatory testing. (This does NOT include any after-treatment applications or embellishments, such as screen printing, decals, etc.) Page 31-33
  • Modern ordinary bound books, printed with the CMYK method and meeting several other requirements, have been exempted from testing. (This does NOT include spiral bound either metal or plastic - or novelty books which are or contain plastic, metal or electronic parts, etc.) Page 37-49
  • Precious metals and gems, as well as many semiprecious gems and minerals, are largely exempt from testing. (Once they have been altered, or used in conjunction with a non-exempt process or component, the exemption does not apply.) Pages 4-5, 25-26
  • A wide variety of natural (plant and animal) products, in their unadulterated states, have been exempted from testing. Pages 4-5, 15-16, 35

Some other notable determinations:

  • Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) may NOT be used to demonstrate CPSIA compliance of any materials or components used to construct/manufacture children's products, as they do not certify that lead levels are within or below the lawful limits. Page 53-54
  • Component testing of metal, plastic and painted parts - such as zippers, buttons, snaps, etc. - will still be required at this time, although the Commission will revisit the topic for further determinations:
"The Commission intends to address component part testing and the establishment of protocols and standards for ensuring that children's products are tested for compliance with applicable children's products safety rules, as well as products that fall within an exemption, in an upcoming rulemaking." Pages 54-56
  • The Commission will continue to consider requests for exemption that are accompanied by the proper documentation and test data to support the request:
"The list of determinations made in this rule is not exhaustive; the Commission will continue to evaluate other requests on materials or products submitted under the procedures rule, and consider whether to re-evaluate a material if new evidence indicates that a re-evaluation is warranted or the Commission receives data or information demonstrating that a particular material does not and would not contain lead. In such circumstances, the Commission will amend the rule, if appropriate." Page 12

Here is the summary of the Final Rule, copied directly from the document released by the Commission (page 60-64):

J. Conclusion
For the reasons stated above, the Commission amends title 16 of the Code of Federal Regulations as follows:
1. The authority for part 1500 continues to read as follows:

Authority: 15 U.S.C. 1261-1278, 122 Stat. 3016.

2. Add a new §1500.91 to read as follows:

§ 1500.91 Determinations Regarding Lead Content for Certain Materials
or Products under Section 101 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.

(a) The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act provides for specific lead limits in children's products. Section 101(a) of the CPSIA provides that by February 10, 2009, products designed or intended primarily for children 12 and younger may not contain more than 600 ppm of lead. After August 14, 2009, products designed or intended primarily for children 12 and younger cannot contain more than 300 ppm of lead. On August 14, 2011, the limit may be further reduced to 100 ppm, unless the Commission determines that it is not technologically feasible to have this lower limit. Paint, coatings or electroplating may not be considered a barrier that would make the lead content of a product inaccessible to a child. Materials used in products intended primarily for children 12 and younger that are treated or coated with paint or similar surface-coating materials that are subject to 16 CFR part 1303, must comply with the requirements for lead paint under section 14(a) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA), as amended by section 102(a) of the CPSIA.

(b) Section 3 of the CPSIA grants the Commission general rulemaking authority to issue regulations, as necessary, either on its own initiative or upon the request of any interested person, to make a determination that a material or product does not exceed the lead limits as provided under paragraph (a) of this section.

(c) A determination by the Commission under paragraph (b) of this section that a material or product does not contain lead levels that exceed 600 ppm, 300 ppm, or 100 ppm, as applicable, does not relieve the material or product from complying with the applicable lead limit as provided under paragraph (a) of this section if the product or material is changed or altered so that it exceeds the lead content limits.

(d) The following materials do not exceed the lead content limits under section 101(a) of the CPSIA provided that these materials have neither been treated or adulterated with the addition of materials that could result in the addition of lead into the product or material:

(1)Precious gemstones: diamond, ruby, sapphire, emerald

(2) Semiprecious gemstones and other minerals, provided that the mineral or material is not based on lead or lead compounds and is not associated in nature with any mineral based on lead or lead compounds (excluding any mineral that is based on lead or lead compounds including, but not limited to, the following: aragonite, bayldonite, boleite, cerussite, crocoite, galena, linarite, mimetite, phosgenite, vanadinite, and wulfenite)

(3) Natural or cultured pearls.

(4) Wood.

(5) Paper and similar materials made from wood or other cellulosic fiber, including, but not limited to, paperboard, linerboard and medium, and coatings on such paper which become part of the substrate.

(6) CMYK process printing inks (excluding spot colors, other inks that are not used in CMYK process, inks that do not become part of the substrate under 16 CFR part 1303, and inks used in after-treatment applications, including screen prints, transfers, decals, or other prints) .

(7) Textiles (excluding after-treatment applications, including screen prints, transfers, decals, or other prints) consisting of:

(a) Natural fibers (dyed or undyed) including, but not limited to, cotton, kapok, flax, linen, jute, ramie, hemp, kenaf, bamboo, coir, sisal, silk, wool (sheep), alpaca, llama, goat (mohair, cashmere), rabbit (angora), camel, horse, yak, vicuna, qiviut, guanaco;

(b) Manufactured fibers (dyed or undyed) including, but not limited to, rayon, azlon, lyocell, acetate, triacetate, rubber, polyester, olefin, nylon, acrylic, modacrylic, aramid, spandex.

(8) Other plant-derived and animal-derived materials including, but not limited to, animal glue, bee's wax, seeds, nut shells, flowers, bone, sea shell, coral, amber, feathers, fur, leather.

(e) The following metals and alloys do not exceed the lead content limits under section 101(a) of the CPSIA, provided that no lead or lead-containing metal is intentionally added but does not include the non-steel or non-precious metal components of a product, such as solder or base metals in electroplate, clad, or fill applications:

(1) Surgical steel and other stainless steel within the designations of Unified Numbering System, UNS S13800 S66286, not including the stainless steel designated as 303Pb (UNS S30360) .

(2) Precious metals: gold (at least 10 karat); sterling silver (at least 925/1000); platinum; palladium; rhodium; osmium; iridium; ruthenium, titanium.

Please take the time to read the complete Final Rule document here:


Other important CPSIA links:


Of particular interest to Small Businesses, Resellers, Crafters and Charities:

To keep abreast of any CPSIA news and developments, sign up here to be notified by e-mail:

Editorial comment:

Obviously, CPSIA and its Final Rule are imperfect. The hasty rush to draft and enact what was supposed to have been a protective law has ultimately, and adversely, affected small businesses, charitable organizations, non-profits, and everyday craftspersons, as well as the average American consumer. Hopefully, through continued efforts by concerned citizens and business owners, CPSIA will eventually evolve into a practical, common-sense piece of legislation that will achieve its intended objective without causing further, or continued, harm.

Kudos to the many, many, many dedicated people across the nation who took action by researching, writing letters, attending meetings, blogging and using various other media, to both challenge or hone the law, and inform businesspersons and the public. Your vigilance and perseverance has made a difference. Keep up the good work!