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Washington State Chemicals of High Concern to Children

Investigating the specific requirements of the legislation.

Image © Ingrid Balabanova |

In April 2008, Washington State introduced the Children’s Safe Product Act (CSPA). The aim of the legislation is to reduce the risk of dangerous chemicals being used in products intended for children under 12 years of age.

This law consists of two parts. The first part limits the amount of lead, cadmium and phthalates in children’s products. The CSPA pre-empted the US Congress passing the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in July 2008. The second part of the CSPA requires manufacturers of children’s products to notify the Washington State Department of Ecology when a Chemical of High Concern to Children (CHCC) is present in their product.

If the product contains more than one component (for example, furniture may contain textiles and timber), notification for the relevant component is required. The CHCC reporting list currently contains 85 substances, many of which are also included on the European REACH Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) list and the California Proposition 65 list. If a product contains a substance from the CHCC list, this does not necessarily mean the product is harmful to health. Nevertheless, notification to the Washington State Department of Ecology is required.

Providing the facts

Notification is to take place on an annual basis, and is required for chemicals on the CHCC list which are intentionally added to a product during manufacture, or a contaminant in the product with a concentration greater than 100 parts per million (ppm). A product is exempt from this latter requirement if the manufacturer has a satisfactory manufacturing control programme in place. Notification must include the name of the chemical from the CHCC list, the CAS number of the substance, the product component in which it is present and a description of the CHCC’s function, if any. For instance, if a listed plasticiser is present, this could be identified as needed to aid product flexibility. The name and address information of the reporting manufacturer or importer is also required, as well as the concentration of the CHCC. This concentration shall be reported in ranges:

If the manufacturer determines during the annual notification that there is no change from the previous notification, the manufacturer may submit a written statement indicating that the previously reported data is still valid. If the CHCC has been removed from the children’s product since the last notification, the manufacturer may inform the Washington State Department of Ecology, which will update the records accordingly. All notifications are required annually on the anniversary of the first notice.

Instrumental analysis of chemicals in consumer products

Children’s products

Children’s products have been split into four tiers:

The reporting dates are being phased, based on the size of the manufacturer (measured by gross sales) and Tier group. The reporting date for the largest manufacturers or importers (with annual sales greater than $1 billion) of Tier 1 products ended in August 2012. Tier 2 reporting dates ended in February 2013, with August 2013 being the date for Tier 3 products. Reporting dates for organisations with lower annual sales related to the different Tiers have a phase-in period from February 2013 until August 2018.

Organisations failing to report or report values below those later found by the regulators are liable for fines of up to $5,000 for the first breach, and a maximum of $10,000 for subsequent offences. Reporting dates for the largest footwear manufactures or importers have already ended for Tier 1 and Tier 2 products. The majority of the reports submitted so far have been for antimony and cobalt compounds, with further reports covering phthalates and some organic solvents such as toluene.

Not all of the 85 chemicals on the list are applicable to consumer products. SATRA can help with advice on targeted testing to ensure that suppliers into Washington State provide the correct information to comply with the safety legislation for children’s products.

How can we help?


Please email for further information on the Washington State Chemicals of High Concern to Children (CHCC) list.