SAFEGUARDS | Consumer Products NO. 147/15

SafeGuardS baby

The US State of Maine has expanded the list of priority chemicals to include formaldehyde for reporting in children’s products. Manufacturers and distributors of certain children’s products containing this chemical are required to report to Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection (Maine DEP) no later than 21 January 2016.

In 2008, Maine enacted the ‘Toxic Chemicals in Children’s Products’ [1] law. Under the law, a manufacturer or distributor of certain children’s products is required to disclose specific information if a priority chemical (PC) is added to the product and exceeds the de minimis level.

Since its enactment, arsenic (As), bisphenol A (BPA), cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), nonylphenol (NP), nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEOs) and four phthalates (BBP, DBP, DEHP and DEP) have been designated as priority chemicals (PCs) [2].

Under Maine’s reporting law, a ‘children’s product’ is defined as:

  • A consumer product intended for children under the age of 12 and
  • Any consumer product containing a chemical of high concern (CHC) that when used or disposed of will likely result in a child under 12 years of age or a fetus's being exposed to that chemical

Maine’s definition differs from the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) [3] definition which defines a children’s product as a consumer product designed and intended primarily for children aged 12 years and younger.

In January 2015, the Maine DEP announced a public notice [4] to propose the designation of formaldehyde as a PC for reporting in certain children’s products. Manufacturers and distributors are required to disclose specific information to the Maine DEP if formaldehyde is intentionally added to certain children’s products, and its concentration exceeds the practical quantitation limit (PQL). 

This proposal was approved in mid-2015 and has been effective since 26 July, 2015. Reporting is required by no later than 180 days after the effective date; i.e. by 21 January 2016 or within 30 days of the sale of the children’s product.

According to the definitions in the new rule, the scope of children’s products includes:

  • Bedding, childcare articles, clothing, cosmetics, craft supplies
  • Embellishments, footwear, games, jewelry, occasion supplies
  • Personal accessories, personal care products
  • Safety seats, school supplies and toys

Highlights of the new rule, Chapter 885 [5] for formaldehyde, are summarized in Table 1.

Table 1

State of Maine

Chapter 885 ‘Designation of Formaldehyde as Priority Chemical and

Regulation of Formaldehyde in Children’s Products’

Priority Chemical



Effective Date

Reporting Date


Children’s products:

  • - Bedding
  • - Childcare articles, clothing, cosmetics, craft supplies
  • - Embellishments
  • Ÿ- Footwear
  • Ÿ- Games
  • - Jewelry
  • -Ÿ Occasion supplies
  • Ÿ- Personal accessories, personal care products
  • Ÿ- Safety seats, school supplies and
  • Ÿ- Toys

(See specific definition of children’s product for each product category in new rule)

Reporting to Maine DEP is required if PC is intentionally added and exceeds PQL

26 July, 2015

By 21 January 2016

(or within 30 days of the sale of the children’s product)

Throughout our global network of laboratories, we are able to provide a range of services, including analytical testing and consultancy for restricted substances for the US and international markets.

For enquiries, please contact:

Hing Wo Tsang
Global Toys and Juvenile Products
t: +852 2774 7420

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