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Washington Children’s Safe Products Act (October 2011)

The Washington Children’s Safe Products Act requires manufacturers to report the presence of Chemicals of High Concern to Children (CHCC) in children’s products. Companies that manufacture products that are sold in Washington are advised to begin reviewing their product lines immediately. It is pertinent to identify products that may fall within the scope of the Act and to prepare for compliance with the Notice requirement that will take effect next year.

There are many similarities between the Notice requirements imposed under the Washington Children’s Safe Products Act and warning requirements under Proposition 65, California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act. Both laws require state agencies to maintain a “list” of chemcials, and while neither act directly prohibits the use of listed chemicals, they both impose “notice” or “warning” requirements to keep consumers informed and help influence their purchasing decisions.

With the regulation promulgated now, the notice requirements are taking effect.

Key provisions of “the Act” provided below:

Enacted in 2009, the Washington Children’s Safe Products Act requires the State’s Department of Ecology to publish a CHCC List and to enact regulations requiring manufacturers of children’s products to provide notice to the Department regarding the presence of any chemicals on the CHCC List.

The Chemicals of High Concern to Children (CHCC) List is comprised of chemicals determined to meet the statutory criteria of “toxicity,” “persistence,” “bioaccumalativity,” and “exposure” and currently lists approximately seventy chemicals.

Notice Due Dates. The Notice requirements are phased according to the size of the manufacturer, measured by its annual volume of sales worldwide and the “tier” the manufacturer’s products fall. The “largest” manufacturers have annual worldwide sales that exceed $1 Billion (U.S.). A “tiny” manufacturer has an annual worldwide sale that is less than $100,000. Products in “Tier 1” include children’s products that are “mouthable” or applied to a children’s body, such as lotions or shampoos. “Tier 4” products are products or components that do not come into direct contact with a child’s skin or mouth. The first “notice due date” for manufacturers in the “largest” category with products in “Tier 1” is 12 months following the month the regulations were promulgated, or August 12, 2012.

Enforcement. The Act authorizes the Department to collect and test children’s products, and to determine on its own whether notification is required. If by these means or on “other grounds” the Department has found that the manufacturer has violated a requirement of the Act, it may require the manufacturer to pay a civil penalty of up to $5,000 for each violation, in the case of the first offense, and will not exceed $10,000 for each repeat offense. The Act allows the Department to prosecute multiple violations at a single time.

For more information, please Contact TSG.
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