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On February 10, 2009, all children’s toys and child care articles must not contain 0.1% or more of six types of phthalates which include: DEHP, DBP, BBP, DINP, DIDP, and DnOP, regardless of the manufacture date.

The CPSC intends to abide by a recent court decision (pdf) that says the prohibition on phthalates in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) applies to products currently in inventory.

Phthalates are a group of chemicals found in thousands of everyday consumer items – including food and beverage containers, bug spray, shower curtains, perfume, pesticides, and plastic toys. The chemicals make plastics soft and pollute the air, water and dust.

The statute defines a “toy” as a product intended for play by a child 12 or younger. Exempt from the new ruling are items such as musical instruments, bikes, playground equipment and sporting goods (minus their toy counterparts).

Also prohibited are phthalates in “child care articles,” which includes products a child 3 or younger would use for sucking, sleeping or teeth, such as a pacifier.

Companies must meet their reporting obligation under federal law and immediately tell the Commission if they learn of a children’s toy or child care article that exceeds the new phthalates limits starting on February 10, 2009. Companies also should know that the CPSIA generally prohibits the export for sale of children’s products that exceed the new phthalates limits.

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