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) of 2008 obligations. We analyze toys, child care articles, furniture components, and other products and materials for their content of the six phthalate esters identified in the CPSIA regulation. BkA also can aid you in differentiating between materials that require testing and materials that may not require testing for CPSIA compliance. We have state-of-the-art instrumentation consisting of cryogenic milling, 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-C1001-09.3 and U.S. EPA 8270D. You can use our results with confidence as we're on the list of CPSC-Accepted Testing Laboratories. If you need lead analysis of your children's products, we have an ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratory partner that can help you.

BkA has competitive pricing and routinely provides rapid turnaround for results. If you are in search of a toy testing lab to assist with CPSIA compliance, contact us for expert advice and to discuss your testing needs.

Compliance with CPSIA is mandatory! – The CPSIA is a sweeping new law that directly impacts manufacturers and importers of toys and child care articles, and even includes those who make and donate products to charities. Additionally, 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. The CPSC has identified materials that need testing and other materials that may not require testing.

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 may be limited to 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.

Six phthalate esters of concern

The CPSIA Section 108(a) has permanently banned the sale of any children’s toy or child care article containing concentrations of more than 0.1% of:

  • Di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP)
  • Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)
  • Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP)

The CPSIA Section 108(b) also prohibits, on an interim basis, the sale of "any children’s toy that can be placed in a child’s mouth or child care article" containing concentrations of more than 0.1% of three additional phthalates:

  • Diisononyl phthalate (DINP)
  • Diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP)
  • Di-n-octyl phthalate (DnOP)

The CPSC Chronic Health Advisory Panel reviewed the health effects of phthalates and phthalate alternatives and issued a 2014 report.  The panel recommended that the current Section 108(b) ban on DIDP and DnOP be lifted and that four additional phthalates be permanently banned (note that these recommendations have not been implemented):

  • Diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP)
  • Di-n-pentyl phthalate (DPENP)
  • Di-h-hexyl phthalate (DHEXP)
  • Dicyclohexyl phthalate (DCHP)

View our technical brief that summarizes the phthalate esters contained in the CPSIA regulation and the 2014 proposed changes.

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
  • Polyethylene and polypropylene (polyolefins)
  • Silicone rubber and natural latex
  • Mineral products such as play sand, glass, and ceramics

We're an experienced toy testing lab and can help you navigate the testing and compliance process. In order to best serve you, it's often necessary for us to have the actual toy or child-care item 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 sample of your product for evaluation. We'll promptly inspect it and send you a quotation without any obligation.

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