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2008 Withdrawal of Children’s Safe Products Rule

Ecology stops rule making: November 12, 2008

On November 12, 2008 The Department of Ecology withdrew agency rule making on the proposed Children’s Safe Products Rule. The subject of this rule making was to implement the Children’s Safe Products Act (CSPA) – Laws of 2008, Chapter 288 (RCW 70.240) by adopting a new rule Chapter 173-334 WAC – Children’s safe products rule. The rule would have adopted without material change, several enacted sections of the CSPA. Additionally the rule would have clarified that electronic components that are internal to children’s products and not accessible during the products intended use are outside the regulatory scope of this legislation.

Ecology withdrew this rule making because of recent federal legislation. The “Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008” amends the “Consumer Product Safety Act” expanding a federal program that addresses many of the same topics as the state law. The federal Act substantially preempts the standards for lead, phthalates, and cadmium in RCW 70.240. Ecology elected not to pursue an exemption from this preemption because such a request would likely result in a protracted legal argument with marginal improvement in the safety of children’s products. This federal preemption precludes the need for the proposed rule because the purpose was to clarify how the lead, cadmium and phthalate standards apply to certain products.

Future Activities:

There are important parts of Washington’s law (RCW 70.240) that are not preempted. Ecology and Department of Health (Health) are continuing to develop a list of chemicals of high concern for children (CHCC). In January 2009, Ecology with assistance from Health will present a report to the legislature:
  • Describing the process we are using to identify CHCCs;
  • Addressing concerns raised, particularly by small manufacturers and retailers, about the reporting requirements;
  • Describing how the new law affects the availability of safe car seats in Washington; and
  • Identifying children's products or product categories that contain CHCCs.
RCW 70.240 requires manufacturers of children’s products containing CHCCs to notify Ecology of this six months after Ecology adopts rules that include the list of CHCCs. Ecology expects to begin this rule making in summer, 2009. The rule will also include reporting requirements. At the earliest, the reporting requirements will become effective in spring, 2011. RCW 70.240 charges Health with developing new information about chemicals in children's products.

More Withdrawal Info:

RCW 70.95.240 Children’s safe products

Federal Law

Rule Documents

Email Notices

Advisory Group

News Releases
April 1, 2008
June 3, 2008

Focus Sheet