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Minnesota, USA, Issues Guidelines for Products Containing Lead and Cadmium

SafeGuardSElectrical & Electronics, Hardgoods, Softlines, Toys and Juvenile ProductsMay 03, 2024

SG 64/24

Minnesota has issued a guideline for the restriction of lead and cadmium in various product categories as provided under Minn. Stat. § 325E.3892.

In May 2023, the governor of Minnesota signed HF 2310 (Chapter 60) into law to regulate, among other things, products containing lead and cadmium (SafeGuardS 66/23).

Under this law (Minn. Stat. § 325E.3892) the lead and cadmium content in the following 15 product categories is restricted to 90 ppm (0.009%) lead and 75 ppm (0.0075%) cadmium.

  • Chalk, crayons, paints and other art supplies
  • Clothing, footwear, headwear and accessories
  • Cosmetics and personal care products
  • Costumes, costume accessories and children’s and seasonal party supplies
  • Craft supplies and jewelry-making supplies
  • Cups, bowls and other food containers
  • Fidget spinners
  • Jewelry
  • Keys, key chains and key rings
  • Outdoor games
  • Play sets and play structures
  • Pots and pans
  • Puzzles, board games, card games and similar games
  • School supplies
  • Toys

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has recently made available a guideline to assist stakeholders with the aforementioned lead and cadmium restrictions. This guideline provides information on the following topics, highlighted in table 1.

ItemTopic Details
1GeneralProducts covered by the law include:
  • Any of the listed products including different forms they may take
  • Any combination or set of products sold together which includes one of the listed products
  • Accessories sold together with a listed product
  • Accessories sold separately from a listed product if the accessory also fits in the category of listed product. For example, a doll accessory (such as doll clothes) sold separately from the toy it is meant to be used with is still in the toy category, so it would be covered
The highest priority is placed on components or pieces of components which may be mouthed, sucked on or ingested by children, or which may become accessible through the process of mouthing, sucking or ingestion (e.g. materials underneath a coating).
2Product componentsComponent can mean:
  • A visible part or piece of a product such as a zipper, pendant, button, rivet or coating
  • A part or piece which is not immediately visible (e.g. hidden by another material)
  • A chemical in a formulation, mixture or alloy
A component can be present unintentionally or as a contaminant.
3Less-accessible components
  • Law covers components not typically accessible except by destruction or separation using tools or heavy objects, including circuitry, batteries and complex inner workings.
  • While the MCPA considers not typically accessible components to be less of a priority for monitoring and replacement than mouthable or ingestible components, the life cycle of a product both during manufacturing and through the way it is managed and disposed of at the end of its life, remains a concern
4Other interpretationsLaw covers different forms of listed products including:
  • Powered or unpowered
  • Intended for any age or gender identification
  • For indoor and/or outdoor use
  • Made of any natural or synthetic material or combination thereof, if any part or component of those materials exceeds the limits on lead and/or cadmium
Sunglasses or other eyewear without corrective lenses fall under clothing or costume accessories and are covered by the law, while eyewear with prescription corrective lenses are not in scope of the law.
5Federal pre-emption
  • Law does not apply to covered products containing lead or cadmium when the statute’s prohibitions are pre-empted by federal law
  • Only federal laws indicating that state limits cannot be more stringent than the federal limits are, however, to be considered. The mere existence of a federal limit does not pre-empt Minnesota's law
6Compliance determinationFor compliance determination complete acid digestion of product samples should be used instead of leaching tests, mirroring the initial total heavy metal content step under ASTM F963

Table 1

The MPCA also references additional resources for a detailed description of the products covered by the law, including the Global Product Classification system, relevant ASTM or other industry standards, and commonly used definitions in Black’s Law Dictionary or Merriam-Webster.

SGS is committed to providing information about development in regulations for consumer products as complimentary services. Through a global network of laboratories, SGS provides a wide range of services including physical/mechanical testing, analytical testing and consultancy work for technical and non-technical parameters applicable to a comprehensive range of consumer products. Contact us for more information or visit our website. In the end, it’s only trusted because it’s tested.

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