SGMA Industry Alert: CPSC Relaxes Phthalates Restrictions

Products Made Before Feb. 10, 2009 Are Exempt From Ban
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – November 20, 2008 – There's a positive change in the implementation of the phthalates ban – and SGMA says that it represents good news for the sporting goods industry. On November 17th, Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) General Counsel Cheryl Falvey released an advisory opinion letter which stated that the ban on toys and child care products containing phthalates only applies to products manufactured on or after February 10, 2009, which is the implementation date for the phthalates ban.

“SGMA has expressed our concerns over the application of the phthalates ban directly to the CPSC over the past few months and we consider this clarification a major improvement for the industry,” said SGMA's Vice President of Government Relations Bill Sells.

“This is a huge relief for manufacturers of products containing phthalates that may be considered toys,” said SGMA President Tom Cove. “As many know, due to the vague definition of a toy as ‘a product a child uses when it plays,' certain sporting goods and licensed products could have been subjected to the ban.”
The CPSC is currently soliciting comments from all stakeholders on the phthalates issue. SGMA continues to work with the CPSC to clarify how the new product safety laws apply to sporting goods, fitness and licensed products.
SGMA hopes to have a CPSC advisory opinion clarifying how sporting goods and licensed products are defined as different from children's toys and, therefore, not subject to the phthalates provision of the new product safety law. SGMA cautions that this most recent pronouncement is subject to change and recommends that all use of phthalates be carefully examined.
The November 17th letter from CPSC General Counsel Cheryl Falvey states:
“The Consumer Product Safety Act expressly states that consumer product safety standards apply only to products manufactured after the effective date of the new standard.”
This interpretation of the law resolves two major issues for manufacturers:
•Compliance with respect to existing inventory and products currently in the pipeline that may contain phthalates
•Testing of existing inventory and products manufactured prior to February 10, 2009 to certify that they are phthalate-free
The letter denies a request on delayed implementation of the new “lead content” limitations as the “lead” restrictions fall under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act. Manufacturers must certify compliance with the new “lead content” limitations as of the February 10, 2009 implementation date.
The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, the #1 source for sport and fitness research and author of the single-sport participation study on basketball, is the global business trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products industry. SGMA leads the sports and fitness industries while enhancing industry vitality and fostering sports, fitness, and active lifestyle participation. More information about SGMA can be found at www.sgma.com.
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