SAFEGUARDS | Consumer Products NO. 078/17

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The US state of Maine has expanded its list of priority chemicals by adding two new flame retardants for disclosure in certain children’s products. The new rule became effective on March 4, 2017.

In 2008, Maine enacted the ‘Toxic Chemicals in Children’s Products [1]’ Law. The law mandates manufacturers, importers and distributors of children products to report specific information to the Department of Protection (DEP) if a priority chemical (PC) is added to these products and exceeds the de minimis level.

The law defines a children’s product as:

  • A consumer product for children under the age of 12
  • 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 being exposed to that chemical.

In October 2016, Maine’s DEP had proposed [2] to designate two flame retardants, decabromodiphenyl ether (Deca-BDE) and hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD/HBCDD), as Priority Chemicals (PCs) for reporting in certain children’s products if they exceed the practical quantification limit (PQL).

In March 2017, Maine’s Department of Secretary of State announced [3] the adoption of the proposal to designate Deca-BDE and HBCD/HBCDD as PCs. Under new Chapter 889 [4], manufacturers and distributors of certain categories of children’s products containing intentionally added quantities of any of these two flame retardants are required to report to the DEP within 180 days from the effective date. This new rule became effective on March 4, 2017 and its deadline for reporting is August 31, 2017. If the sale of regulated children’s products does not commence until after the end of August 2017, the obligations to report are within 30 days of the sale of the children’s product.     

The inclusion of two flame retardants has increased the number of PCs from 11 to 13. These PCs are:

  • Bisphenol A (BPA)
  • Deca-BDE and HBCD/HBCDD
  • Formaldehyde
  • Nonylphenols and nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPs and NPEOs)
  • 3 Metals (arsenic, cadmium and mercury)
  • 4 Phthalates (benzylbutyl phthalate (BBP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), diethyl phthalate (DEP) and di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP)

Highlights of new Chapter 889 are summarized in Table 1.

State of Maine, Rule Chapters for the Department of Environmental Protection Chapter 889: Designation of Two,Flame Retardants as Priority Chemicals
Flame retardant Scope Requirement Effective Date
  • Deca-BDE
  • Childcare articles
  • Children’s clothing, footwear, sleepwear and toys
  • Electronic devices
  • Household furniture and furnishings
  • Mattresses and mattress pads
to the DEP if intentionally added and exceeds the PQL.
March 4, 2017
(Reporting deadline = August 31, 2017 otherwise within 30 days of the sale of the product)

Throughout our global network of laboratories, we are able to provide a range of services, including analytical testing and consultancy for priority chemicals (PCs) or chemicals of high concern to children (CHCCs) for the US market. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information.

For enquiries, please contact:

Hingwo Tsang
Global Hardlines Information and Innovation Manager
t: +852 2774 7420

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