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Testing & Analysis by Industry

Phthalate Testing of Toys for CPSIA Compliance

Berkeley Analytical (BkA) is ready to help manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers of children’s products meet their Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) obligations. We are a CPSC-Accepted Testing Laboratory for phthalate esters. We analyze toys, child care articles, furniture components, and other products and materials for their content of the eight phthalate esters identified in the final version of the CPSIA regulation.  We have state-of-the-art instrumentation consisting of accelerated solvent extraction, and high sensitivity GC/MS. We are accredited to the U.S. CPSC and U.S. EPA methods used to extract and analyze products for phthalate esters. These methods are CPSC-CH-C1001-09.4 and U.S. EPA 8270E combined with U.S. EPA 3545A for extraction.

The CPSIA directly impacts manufacturers and importers of toys and child care articles, and even includes those who make and donate products to charities. Many big retailers are taking this law seriously and are requiring their suppliers to show proof of compliance. The CPSC defines a children’s product as one designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger. Thus, toys, clothes, furniture, books, jewelry, blankets, games, CDs/DVDs, strollers, and footwear may all be considered children’s products. Packaging that is intended to be reused, or used in conjunction with a child care article or with a children’s toy while playing is also subject to the law.

Because the term consumer product includes components of an article, the CPSC has interpreted the law to apply to each component part of any children’s article. Further, the CPSC has ruled that phthalate testing is only required for those plastic parts or other product parts which could conceivably contain phthalates. The benefits of this component approach are to provide greater protection for children and also to significantly reduce manufacturers’ testing costs in many cases.

Eight phthalate esters of concern

The final version of the CPSIA law that went into effect in 2018 prohibits the sale of children’s toys and child care articles that contain concentrations of more than 0.1 percent weight (1000 ppm) of the following eight phthalate esters, evaluated individually:

  • Di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP)
  • Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)
  • Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP)
  • Diisononyl phthalate (DINP)
  • Diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP)
  • Di-n-pentyl phthalate (DPENP)
  • Di-n-hexyl phthalate (DHEXP or DnHP)
  • Dicyclohexyl phthalate (DCHP)

Materials that require testing

Examples of materials that may contain phthalates and likely will require testing are:

  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and related polymers, such as polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC) and polyvinyl acetate (PVA) – must always be tested
  • Soft or flexible plastics, except polyolefins
  • Soft or flexible rubber, except silicone rubber and natural latex
  • Foam rubber or foam plastic, such as polyurethane
  • Surface coatings, non-slip coatings, finishes, decals, and printed designs
  • Elastic materials on apparel, such as sleepwear
  • Adhesives and sealants
  • Electrical insulation

Materials that may NOT require testing

Examples of materials that do not normally contain phthalates and, thus, may not require testing are:

  • Unfinished metal
  • Natural wood
  • Textiles made from natural fibers, such as cotton or wool
  • Textiles made from common synthetic fibers, such as polyester, acrylic, and nylon
  • Silicone rubber and natural latex
  • Mineral products such as play sand, glass, and ceramics

Materials that DO NOT require testing

The CPSC has identified certain types of plastic that are not required to be tested for phthalates:

  • Polypropylene (PP)
  • Polyethylene (PE)
  • High-impact polystyrene (HIPS)
  • Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)
  • General-purpose polystyrene (GPPS)
  • Medium-impact polystyrene (MIPS)
  • Super-high-impact polystyrene (SHIPS)

Note that for toys and items consisting of more than one material, it's often necessary for us to have an actual sample of the product in hand. That way we can accurately determine the components that need to be tested and the numbers of required extractions. Use our chain-of-custody form to send us a product sample for evaluation. We'll promptly inspect it and send you a quote without any obligation.

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