Testing Consumer Products
Although we assume the everyday products we use in our homes, workplaces and cars are safe for families and the environment, that is not always the case.
Sometimes, a toxic chemical such as lead or mercury is used in a product in a way that can directly harm people, particularly infants and young children that are still growing. In other cases, a product contains low levels of a toxic chemical and isn’t a direct threat when it is consumed or used. However, when the chemicals from thousands or millions of these products enter the environment, they can build up through the food chain and become significant threats to people and the environment.
Because of these threats, laws have been passed to address the most serious toxic chemicals present in consumer products. Washington State has been a leader in regulating these everyday sources of toxics, including lead wheel weights, mercury-containing lights, and heavy metals in children’s products and consumer packaging.
Ecology regularly purchases consumer products at retail stores and online and tests them to ensure manufacturers are complying with these restrictions and reporting requirements. You can read these reports, or search for information on individual products. You can also review the chemical ingredient information reported to Ecology by product manufacturers.
Product testing reports
Ecology’s product testing work is organized into reports focused on a particular type of product or a particular chemical. Below are our most recent laboratory reports.
Washington’s Toxics in Products LawsLearn more.
Below, you’ll find more information on these regulations and the products they cover.
Frequently Asked Questions about TestingLearn more.
Which products does Ecology test?
Ecology regularly test products for compliance with state and federal laws, such as Washington’s Children’s Safe Products Act. Ecology also tests products to inform development of Chemical Action Plans and to help guide future efforts to reduce toxic chemicals in our environment.
What chemicals does Ecology test for?
Ecology tests for the presence of chemicals restricted under state and federal laws, such as Chemicals of High Concern For Children.
If a toxic chemical is found in testing, what does Ecology do about it?
Products found to contain chemicals restricted under state law will be subject to enforcement actions. Products found to contain chemicals regulated under federal law will be referred to the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Does Ecology purchase the products it tests?
Yes, Ecology purchases all of the products it tests, either at a retail location or online.
FAQ on Children’s Safe Products Act manufacturer reporting dataLearn more.
Can the information being reported be used to determine if a product is safe?
No – the report of the presence of a chemical in a product does not establish that a product is harmful. But the reports will provide information on the prevalence of a given chemical across the supply chain for products. Ecology uses this information to focus attention on those chemicals where the greatest opportunities for improvement exist.
How were the reporting chemicals selected?
Ecology used a combination of toxicity data and information about chemicals that have been found in children’s products, people’s bodies, or are known to persist in the environment to come up with a broad list of chemicals. This list was further prioritized to the 66 reporting chemicals. For complete details on this process please refer to the Process Used to Generate Reporting List documents, available at: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/hwtr/RTT/cspa/chcc.html
If a company’s name isn’t among those that reported, does that mean that their products don’t have any of the chemicals?
There are several possible reasons a company’s name is not included. Their products may not contain any of the chemicals. The reporting requirement for children's products is phased in based on manufacturer size and product tier; the company may be not be large enough or make products that are currently subject to reporting. The company may have chosen not to report. Or the company may not be aware that their products contain a reporting chemical.
Why is the reporting requirement being phased-in?
The reporting is being phased-in to lessen the burden on small business. The largest manufacturers sell the most children’s products to Washington consumers and are most likely to have the ability to determine what chemicals are in their products.
How will Ecology make sure that companies are complying with the law?
Ecology periodically purchases products and tests them for chemicals on the list of Chemicals of High Concern to Children. If a discrepancy is found between the reported data and our test results, Ecology will follow up with the responsible manufacturer. Failure to report could lead to administrative penalties and fines.
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