The US state of Maine is reposting a revised proposal to designate PFOS as a priority chemical for reporting requirements. If approved, intentionally added PFOS is required to be reported within 180 days after the effective date of the final rule.

SAFEGUARDS | Consumer Products NO. 148/19

Colorful Plastic Containers

In 2008, Maine enacted the ‘Toxic Chemicals in Children’s Products’ Law (Title 38, Chapter 16-D). This law requires manufacturers or distributors of certain children’s products to disclose specific information if a priority chemical (PC) is added to a product and exceeds the de minimis level. The disclosure of information on PCs does not apply to, among other things, inaccessible components.

Under the law, chemicals are prioritized into three categories:

  • Chemicals of concern (CoCs) – approximately 1,400 chemicals
  • Chemicals of high concern (CHCs) – 36 chemicals
  • Priority chemicals (PCs) – 13 chemicals

From the CoC list, CHCs are designated and upon further evaluation, may be elevated to PCs which result in regulatory action. These chemicals are evaluated and updated periodically.

According to the definitions in the law, a children’s product is defined as ‘a consumer product intended for, made for or marketed for use by children under 12 years of age, and any consumer product containing a chemical of high concern that when used or disposed of will likely to result in a child under 12 years of age or a fetus being exposed to that chemical’.

On October 2, 2019, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced a revised proposal to designate perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) as a priority chemical (PC) for reporting if it is intentionally added to children’s products, and other consumer products if a child under the age of 12 may have direct contact to these products.

The revised proposal stems from additional information received by the DEP after the proposal was first posted in April 2019 and the subsequent public hearing in the same month (Safeguards 51/19). The latest revision now clarifies the scope of products.

Comments on the revised proposal are accepted until November 4, 2019. A public hearing will only be held if five or more requests have been received before the end of the comment period.

Highlights of the revised proposal are summarized in Table 1.

Maine Department of Environmental Protection
Proposed Chapter 890 ‘Designation of PFOS as Priority Chemical’
Priority chemical Scope Requirement
  • Childcare articles
  • Clothing, footwear, sleepwear
  • Cookware, tableware, reusable food and beverage containers**
  • Cosmetics and personal care products
  • Craft supplies
  • Electronic devices
  • Household furniture and furnishings
  • Toys
Reporting to the DEP within 180 days after the effective date of the final rule
if PC is intentionally added and exceeds
the practical quantification limit (PQL),
otherwise within 30 days of sale

*In line with the statute, the following are exempt:

  • Used products
  • Containers or packaging for food or beverage products, unless they are marketed or intended for use by children under three years of age
  • Motor vehicles or watercrafts, except detachable car seats

**Containers with a lid, cover, cap or nipple, such as baby bottles, spill-proof cups, sports bottles and thermoses, as well as disposable and reusable dishes such as plates, bowls, cups/glasses and cutlery. Receptacles containing food or beverage at the time of sale are exempt.

Table 1

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