Seattle, WA – Companies making kids’ products are now required to publicly disclose the presence of 20 additional chemicals in their products under new requirements published by the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) yesterday. The new requirements significantly expand the existing reporting list of 66 chemicals of high concern for children’s health to include many more flame retardants, several additional phthalates, the stain-proofing chemical perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and substances that breakdown into PFOA. This is the largest number of chemicals required to be reported in children’s products in the country.

Kids’ products covered under the rule include toys, personal care products, and clothing. Ecology issued the new requirements as part of an update to the state’s landmark Children’s Safe Products Act rule. 

The 20 new chemicals of high concern for kids’ health that companies must now publicly disclose include:

  • Thirteen flame retardant chemicals, including flame retardants classified as organohalogens. Last week the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a warning to manufacturers, retailers, and consumers to avoid making, selling, or using certain products, including kids’ products, that contain organohalogens, due to health concerns. The CPSC also recently voted to initiate a process to ban organohalogen use in kids’ products, electronics, and other consumer products. 
  • Four phthalate chemicals. Phthalates are linked to a variety of health concerns, including hormone disruption and fertility problems. Eight phthalate chemicals were already included in the list.  
  • Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), used in stain-proofing and waterproofing applications. Ecology also included substances that breakdown into PFOA, which is linked to cancer and other health effects.
  • Two chemicals – bisphenol S and bisphenol F – often used as a replacement in hard plastic for bisphenol A (BPA). BPA was banned in baby bottles, sippy cups, and sports bottles in Washington state in 2010.

Full text of the rule update can be found at: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/hwtr/laws_rules/CSP_ReportingRule/1608docs.html

“We applaud Ecology’s action that will uncover dangerous chemicals that can be lurking in children’s products,” said Laurie Valeriano, Executive Director of Toxic-Free Future. “There are too many secrets when it comes to chemicals used in everyday products. This rule requires companies to come clean on what they are using in products our kids put in their mouths and wear. We also need real protections that will end the use of harmful chemicals in our homes once and for all.”

“These chemicals are no-brainer bad chemicals for kids,” said Karen Bowman, environmental health specialist with the Washington State Nurses Association. “The chemical industry can no longer hide their toxic chemicals in children’s products in Washington state. Once we know what the chemicals are used in we can take action to protect kids and all consumers.”

Ecology removed three chemicals from the existing reporting list, including the chemical D4 (octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane). Advocates wanted the chemical to remain on the list, citing over 2000 program reports of its use in kids’ products, including footwear, bibs, baby changing mats, teethers, and pacifiers.

Since the chemicals reporting began in 2012, companies have filed over 55,000 reports of chemicals of high concern for children in kids’ products sold in the state. The most recent chemical reports filed by makers of kids’ products show toxic chemical use remains widespread, and some companies report levels of chemicals that appear to violate state law. 

  • Komar Kids reported levels of the hormone-disrupting phthalate DINP in undershirts, chemises, and camisoles well above the state’s 1000 parts per million (ppm) limit. The company reported DINP at over 10,000 ppm.
  • American Greetings Corp. reported using cancer-causing cadmium in its dolls and soft toys at between 100-500 ppm. Current state law allows only 40 ppm.

Other notable reports include: 

  • Exxcel Outdoors LLC reported using the flame retardants TDCPP at over 10,000 ppm and TCEP between 1,000 and 5,000 ppm in outdoor play structures sold in 2016. These levels exceed new state standards that went into effect July 1, 2017. Kids’ products with those levels sold after this date would violate state law.
  • MGA Entertainment and Little Tikes reported an infant toy containing methylene chloride, a cancer-causing chemical that the USEPA has proposed be banned in paint stripper. The company reported that levels of the chemical in the toy are between 5000 ppm and 10000 ppm. The information available doesn’t indicate the specific toy contains this chemical.

A searchable database of chemical use reports filed with the Washington State Department of Ecology is available at http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/swfa/cspa/search.html.