Recalls of products intended for children continue to generate concerns among parents about the safety of their children's toys. In fact, according to a December 2008 report by Consumer's Union, children's products, including toys, nursery products and clothing, accounted for two-thirds (nearly 29 million) of all products recalled from 2007-08.
To help assure that safer toys are making their way to U.S. consumers, lawmakers introduced the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in 2008. This act contains requirements for lead and a ban on certain phthalates in products designed for children 12 and younger. The act currently requires mandatory third-party testing and labeling requirements for all toys and children's products sold in the U.S. by February 2010.
Toys and other children's products covered by the Act include:
Because a majority of recent recalls were issued in response to excessive lead content, the CPSIA will first focus on limiting lead in paint and surface coatings effective December 21, 2008. The CPSIA will incorporate increasing levels of regulation, eventually requiring third party testing of lead and phthalates in the substrate material, as well as physical and mechanical testing, in 2010.
The CPSC will also be developing requirements with regards to product labeling products that are certified to be in compliance with the Act. In addition, they will be establishing standards to ensure products are re-tested periodically, or whenever a change is made to design or materials, to ensure products continue to comply with the requirements of this Act.