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Steps Toward Safer Chemical Policy

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Overview of the law

Ecology's Reducing Toxic Threats Initiative is based on the principle that preventing exposures to toxics is the smartest, cheapest and healthiest way to protect people and the environment. The Children's Safe Product Act (CSPA - Chapter 70.240 RCW) is an important part of this initiative.

This law consists of two parts. The first part limited the amount of lead, cadmium and phthalates allowed in children's products sold in Washington after July 1, 2009. These standards were substantially preempted when the U.S. Congress passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in July, 2008. If we find products that exceed state standards, we will evaluate how best to ensure compliance. If we determine that state standards are preempted by federal law, we will request action by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the federal agency that enforces the CPSIA. If we are not preempted, we will examine what actions are needed under state law.

The second part of CSPA requires Ecology, in consultation with the Department of Health, to develop a list of chemicals that manufacturers must report on. This list is called the Reporting List of Chemicals of High Concern to Children. As required by the law, chemicals on the list are toxic and have either been found in children’s products or have been documented to be present in human tissue (blood, breast milk, etc.). However, the mere presence of these chemicals in children’s products does not necessarily indicate that there is a risk of harm. This second part of the CSPA was not affected by the federal law.

Enforcing the law

Between 2012 and 2013, Ecology tested more than 200 children's products to determine whether manufacturers are complying with CSPA and toxics in packaging legislation. Results showed that most manufacturers are following both laws.

NEW! - 04/14/2014 Product testing reports


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