CPSC Rule to Amend Third-party Testing Requirements for Children's Products
Children's toys require third-party testing by federal law to ensure safety, but a new rule may eliminate testing for toys made from unfinished and untreated trunk wood.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has ruled that it is highly confident that this type of wood does not contain any of the eight heavy metals (antimony, arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury and selenium) regulated by the federal toy standard, ASTM F963-11, and therefore should not require third-party testing, which is mandated for all children's products.
The rule will go into effect Sept. 15 unless the public comment period, which ends Aug. 17, yields significant adverse reaction.
In 2011, Congress requested that the CPSC find ways to reduce the cost of third-party testing requirements, so CPSC staff researched ways to achieve this, submitting a request for information for four of the cost-reduction opportunities in 2013, according to the Federal Register docket.
The rule on unfinished and untreated trunk wood—that includes ash, beech, birch, cherry, maple, oak, pine, poplar and walnut—derived from one of the cost-savers that entails finding material known to not contain one of the eight heavy metals, according to the Federal Register docket.
A contractor examined the issue, which also sought information on other materials, such as bamboo; beeswax; undyed and untreated fibers and textiles; and uncoated and coated paper. The contractor, who only reached a conclusion on unfinished and untreated trunk wood, determined that while other parts of the tree could contain heavy metals, the trunk—the part of the tree sold to manufacturers—does not.
"The commission determines that unfinished and untreated trunk wood complies with the solubility requirements for the heavy elements in section 4.3.5 of ASTM F963-11 with a high degree of assurance," the CPSC wrote in the Federal Register docket. "This determination means that third-party testing for compliance to the solubility requirements is not required for certification purposes for unfinished and untreated trunk wood. The commission makes this determination to reduce the third-party testing burden on children's product certifiers while continuing to ensure compliance."
Although the Toy Industry Association Inc. (TIA) is supportive of the measure to reduce the burden of third-party testing, it warned this measure is a small step in the effort to reduce third-party testing costs.
“While TIA is supportive of the commission’s efforts and is pleased to see that the agency will provide some relief, the particular exemption for untreated or unfinished wood will provide minimal relief for toy manufacturers given that raw or untreated wood is utilized in only a small proportion of toys on the market,” said Alan Kaufman, TIA senior vice president of technical affairs. “We urge the commission to continue to seek ways to provide meaningful relief to manufacturers facing unnecessary and excessive testing requirements that do not advance safety.”
For more information, or to submit a comment, visit http://www.regulations.gov.