Friday, December 19, 2008

Federal Lead Standards - Companies Agree To Early Restrictions

A number of toy manufacturers have agreed to adopt the new federal standards immediately, ahead of a new federal law ratcheting down standards for lead in toys that won't go into effect until Feb. 10, 2009. By this agreement to settle a law suit with the State of California, the companies agreed not to sell any toys they know contain lead above the soon-to-be Federal standard of 90 parts per million (ppm), The companies will also pay over $0.5 million for lead testing and improved consumer notification.

In 2008, Congress passed a consumer product safety legislation, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which:

  • Lowers the standard for lead in paint and surface coatings from 600 parts per million currently to 90 parts per million after Aug. 14, 2009,
  • Establishes tighter restrictions for lead in other materials used in toys, such as plastics, metals and fabrics.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement in California, the companies will:

  • Implement the federal lead standards on Dec. 1, 2008, instead of Feb. 10, 2009,
  • Meet the 90 ppm lead in paint standard by Dec. 1, 2008, instead of by Aug. 14, 2009,
  • Meet the 300 ppm standard for lead in plastics, metals, and fabrics by Dec. 1, 2008.

If the companies find toys in excess of the lead standard, they will stop selling and distributing those toys, regardless of when the toy was made. If the companies violate the lead standard in the future, the California Attorney General can obtain penalties through an expedited enforcement process.

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