SAFEGUARDS | Consumer Products NO. 050/16

SafeGuardS girl with jewellerys

Wshington’s Department of Ecology (DOE) has recently published an enforcement guideline for compliance with lead, cadmium and phthalates falling under the Children’s Safe Products Act (CSPA). The DOE will enforce state limits for children’s products that are not covered by a limit under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA).

When the US Federal Government’s ‘Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA)’ [1]  was enacted in 2008, it substantially preempted [2] the requirements for lead, phthalates and cadmium falling under Chapter RCW 70.240.020 of Washington’s Children’s Safe Products Act (CSPA) [3].

On 12 February, 2016, Washington’s DOE published an enforcement guidance document [4] to assist industry on whether a particular children’s product is subject to continuing enforcement for lead, cadmium and phthalates under RCW 70.240.020. According to the guideline, the DOE continues to investigate for violation of lead, cadmium and phthalates in children’s products falling under the CSPA. It also provides important guidance for meeting these requirements, including but not limited to:

  • Washington’s standard for lead, cadmium and phthalates are for children’s products within the meaning of RCW 70.240.010. These are:
    • Child car seats
    • Clothing
    • Cosmetics for children under the age of 12
    • Jewellery for children under the age of 12
    • Products to help a child with sucking or teething, to facilitate sleep, relaxation, or the feeding of a child
    • Toys
  • Washington’s limits for lead, cadmium and phthalates in children’s products cover a broader range of products and are also generally more stringent than the CPSIA limits.
  • The Washington standard for lead, cadmium and phthalates cannot be enforced for products to which a federal standard applies.

  • Lead content. There is considerable overlap between the products covered by the federal lead limits and children’s products under the Washington law.

  • Cadmium content. Children’s products such as childcare articles, clothing, cosmetics (other than cosmetics that are not part of a toy), footwear and jewellery are subject to Washington’s CSPA limits.

  • Phthalates. Children’s products such as clothing, footwear and cosmetics are subject to Washington’s CSPA limits.

Highlights of the enforcement guideline and a comparison with CPSIA are summarised in Table 1.

Table 1

Item Parameter Washington CSPA RCW Chapter 70.240.010 to 70.240.020 CPSIA
1 Scope Children’s products within the meaning of RCW 70.240.010 Products primarily for children 12 years of age and under
2 Lead content ≤ 90 ppm (may be lowered to less than 40 ppm by rule if determined to be feasible)

Paints and similar surface coating materials (accessible)

≤ 90 ppm

Substrates (accessible) [5]

≤ 100 ppm

3 Cadmium content ≤ 40 ppm Federal law incorporates ASTM F 963 which includes a limit of no more than 75 ppm soluble cadmium for toys
4 Phthalates ≤ 0.1% BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP, DINP or DNOP (individually or in combination)

Toys or childcare articles (accessible) [6]

≤ 0.1% BBP, DBP or DEHP

Toys that can be placed in the mouth or childcare articles (accessible)

≤ 0.1% DIDP, DINP or DNOP

5 Remark
  • Enforcement of product covered by CPSIA limit to be enforced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
  • DOE to enforce state limits for products covered by state limits
Federal law prohibits the enforcement of any state regulation that prescribes content limits on the same product as federal limits and for the same risk of injury with such product unless the state regulation is identical.


Item Acronym Name Item Acronym Name
1 BBP Benzyl butyl phthalate 4 DIDP Diisodecyl phthalate
2 DBP Dibutyl phthalate 5 DINP Diisonoyl phthalate
3 DEHP Di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate 6 DNOP Di-n-Octyl phthalate

Throughout our global network of laboratories, we are able to provide a range of services, including analytical testing and consultancy for lead, cadmium, phthalates and other standards for children’s products for Washington, the US and international markets. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information.

For enquiries, please contact:

Hing Wo Tsang
Global Hardlines
t: +852 2774 7420

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