On March 15th 2018, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) issues “The Standard Management Catalogue of Limiting the Use of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) (first batch)” and “the Exemption List to the Use of Restricted Substances in the Standard Management Catalogue”. These two standards shall come into force one year after the date of announcement.
“The Standard Management Catalogue of Limiting the Use of Hazardous Substances in EEE” describes the definition of scope and application of twelve products: Refrigerators, Televisions, washing machines, air conditioners, water heaters, printers, photocopiers, fax machines, monitors, microcomputers, mobile handsets and telephone handsets.
The content of Lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls and polybrominated diphenyl ethers in those products shall be in accordance with the limit standards of the use of hazardous substances in EEE. Meanwhile, the product should be included in the Conformity Assessment System of Limiting of the Use of Hazardous Substances in EEE.
The products listed in “the Exemption List to the Use of Restricted Substances in the Standard Management Catalogue” should fulfill obligations in accordance with the special restrictions indicated in the exemption list.
The EU has strengthened its requirements for bisphenol A (BPA) in ‘food contact plastics’ and ‘food contact varnished or coated products’. The provisions in the law will become effective on September 6, 2018.
On October 2017, the European Union (EU) was proposing to further amend its draft legislation on bisphenol A (BPA) in ‘food contact plastics’ and ‘food contact varnished or coated materials and articles’. That draft piece of legislation would, among other things, extend the prohibition of BPA in polycarbonate (PC) infant feeding bottles to PC drinking cups or bottles for young children.
On February 14, 2018, the EU published Regulation (EU) 2018/213 to further regulate BPA in certain food contact materials and articles. This new law contains, inter alia, the following important changes:
- Strengthening the migration limit for BPA from 0.6 mg/kg to 0.05 mg/kg in food contact plastics
- A completely new restriction for BPA in food contact varnished and coated materials and articles
- A completely new prohibition for BPA in food contact varnished or coated materials and articles for infants and young children for food categories
- Requiring a declaration of conformity (DoC) for food contact varnished or coated materials and articles
- Upon request by the authorities, supporting documentation such as test results or other pieces of evidence are to be made available to demonstrate compliance with the DoC
The prohibition of BPA in polycarbonate infant feeding bottles remains unchanged.
According to the latest Commission Regulation, ‘food contact plastics’ and ‘food contact varnished or coated materials and articles’ which were (lawfully) placed on the market before September 6, 2018 may remain on the market until stocks are exhausted.
Major highlights of the new law and their comparison with BPA in food contact plastics and PC infant feeding bottles are summarized in the following table.
On February 1, 2018, The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) approved the new federal standard for infant slings to prevent deaths and injuries to young children. The new standard applies to any infant sling carrier manufactured or imported after January 30, 2018.
All infant slings must have permanently attached warning labels and come with instructions, like illustrated diagrams, to show the proper position of a child in the sling.
Warning labels must include statements about:
The suffocation hazards posed by slings and prevention measures:
- Hazards of children falling out of slings
- A reminder to check the buckles, snaps, rings and other hardware to make sure no parts are broken
The mandatory standard also requires sling carriers to:
- Carry up to three times the manufacturer’s maximum recommended weight
- Be sufficiently durable to avoid seam separations, fabric tears, breakage, etc.
- Prevent the child from falling out of the sling during normal use.
Between January 2003 and September 2016, 159 incidents were reported to CPSC involving sling carriers, including 17 deaths and 67 injuries to infants during use of the product.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) approved the safety standard for baby bouncing chairs (16 CFR 1229) to prevent deaths and injuries to babies. The new mandatory standard applies to any infant bouncer seat manufactured or imported after March 19, 2018.
The new rule stipulates that fall hazard warnings should be placed on the front of the bouncer seat near the baby’s head and shoulders, improving the visibility of the warning. The standard also instructs caregivers to use restraints, even if a baby falls asleep in the bouncer, which is a likely occurrence.
Warning labels must include these statements:
- “Use bouncer ONLY on the floor.”
- “ALWAYS use restraints and adjust to fit snugly, even if baby falls asleep.”
- “STOP using bouncer when baby starts trying to sit up or has reached [insert manufacturer’s recommended maximum weight, not to exceed 20 lbs.], whichever comes first.”
Safety Tips for Using Infant Bouncer Seats
CPSC recommends the following tips for parents and caregivers when using an infant bouncer seat:
- Always use the bouncer on the floor, never on a countertop, table or other elevated surface.
- Never place the bouncer on a bed, sofa, or other soft surface because babies have suffocated when bouncers tip over onto soft surfaces.
- Always use restraints and adjust restraints to fit snugly, even if baby falls asleep.
- Stay nearby and watch the baby during use.
Stop using the bouncer when a child is able to sit up on his/her own or the baby reaches 20 lbs. or the manufacturer’s recommended maximum weight.
In California, a new bill (AB 2379 ) has recently been introduced by the California State Assembly that will require all clothing made of fabric containing more than 50% polyester to bear a conspicuous label that warns of plastic microfiber shedding during regular washing. Instead, it will recommend hand washing the garment to reduce the impact of plastic microfiber shedding. According to the bill, microfibers are tiny plastic fibers that shed from synthetic fabric during regular washing and are the single most pervasive type of plastic pollution. Garments made from synthetic fibers, such as polyester, can shed up to 1,900 microfibers per wash. Effluent from washing machines and wastewater treatment plants are a significant source of microfiber pollution, entering both waterways and the ocean. This poses a serious threat to the environment, with microfibers being found in fish and shellfish that are consumed by humans.
California’s new bill aims to educate the public on recognizing the emerging threat that microfibers pose to the environment and water quality and will provide information about the sources of microfiber pollution. The bill also intends to reduce the amount of microfiber that enters the environment and is subsequently consumed by wildlife.
AB 2379 will become effective January 1, 2020 after which the selling or offering for sale of clothing without the required label would be prohibited. Hats and shoes will be exempted.
On 19 January 2018, the Official Journal of EU issues the EU 2018/79, amending Regulation (EU) No 10/2011 on plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with food. The new regulation adds 2,4,4’-trifluorobenzophenone, 2,3,3,4,4,5,5-heptafluoro-1-pentene, tungsten oxide and the mixture of methyl-branched and linear C14-C18 alkanamides, derived from fatty acids, and also expands the use of scope of (butadiene, styrene, methyl methacrylate, butyl acrylate) copolymer cross-linked with divinylbenzene or 1,3-butanediol dimethacrylate.
According to EFSA, (butadiene, styrene, methyl methacrylate, butyl acrylate) copolymer cross-linked with divinylbenzene or 1,3-butanediol dimethacrylate (FCM substance No 856), if used as a polymeric additive at up to 40 % w/w in blends of styrene acrylonitrile copolymer (SAN)/poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) repeat-use articles intended for contact at room temperature with aqueous, acidic and/or low alcoholic (< 20 %) foodstuffs for less than 1 day and with dry foodstuffs for any duration of contact including long-term storage, is not of a safety concern for the consumer, thus it is updated in this regulation.
What’s more, according to (EU) 2018/79, Table 1 of Annex 1 of (EU) No 10/2011 includes 4 authorized substances. 2,4,4’-trifluorobenzophenone and 2,3,3,4,4,5,5-heptafluoro-1-pentene are authorized as monomer. Tungsten oxide and the mixture of methyl-branched and linear C14-C18 alkanamides, derived from fatty acids, are authorized as an additive or an additive for the production of polymers.
When tungsten oxide used as reheat agent in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) verification of compliance with the specific migration limit is not required; in all other cases compliance with the specific migration limit shall be verified in accordance with Article 18; the specific migration limit is expressed as mg tungsten/kg food.
Stearamide (FCM substance No 306), which no specific migration limit applies, shall be excluded from verification of the compliance of the migration of the mixture with the specific migration limit laid down for the mixture.
Directive (EU) 2018/79 shall enter into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the OJ and be binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all Member States. Prior to the effective date, (EU) 10/2011 compliant plastic materials and products could still be put on the market until February 9th 2019 until they were sold out.
The Technical Committee CEN/TC 52 “Safety of toys” published the updated standard EN 71-8:2018 Safety of toys – Part 8: Activity toys for domestic use. It supersedes EN71-8:2011.
This European Standard shall be given the status of a national standard, either by publication of an identical text or by endorsement, at the latest by July 2018, and conflicting national standards shall be withdrawn at the latest by July 2018.
Compared to the current version, the main modifications are:
- A new subclause on water accumulation
- Revised requirements and test method on head and neck entrapment
- Revised requirements on finger entrapment
- Revised requirements on the impact from swing elements
- Requirements on the impact from swing elements
- New requirements and test method on for falling protection of swings with double seats
- Revised requirements for warning, marking and instructions for paddling pools
- Revised requirements on number of users on slides for stability and strength tests
- Revised requirements on stability tests for slides and see-saws
- Revised requirements for toggle tests
In February 2018, the European Commission (EC) proposed to amend Annex XVII of Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006 Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) through the World Trade Organization (WTO) notifications, to add a new restriction on hazardous substances (carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction (CMRs) category 1A or 1B) in clothing, other textiles and footwear.
The drafted Regulation would introduce a new entry into Annex XVII to Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006 that prohibits certain textile products from being placed in the EU market which would contain CMR substances exceeding the specified concentrations listed in Appendix 12. The proposed regulation would apply to clothing and related accessories, footwear and other textile products which under normal conditions of use would come into contact with the skin to an extent similar to clothing.
The substances listed in Appendix 12 shall not be placed on the market in the following products if the substance is present in a concentration greater than that specified in Appendix 12:
- Clothing or related accessories;
- Textiles other than clothing which, under normal or reasonably foreseeable conditions of use, come into contact with human skin to an extent similar to clothing;
- Clothing, related accessories or footwear, or parts of clothing, related accessories or footwear, made exclusively of natural leather, fur or hide
- Non-textile fasteners and non-textile decorative attachments
- Second-hand clothing, related accessories, textiles other than clothing or footwear
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) within the scope of Regulation (EU) 2016/425
- Medical devices within the scope of Regulation (EU) 2017/745
- Disposable textiles (designed to be used only once or for a limited time and are not intended for subsequent use for the same or similar purpose)
Restricted substances and maximum concentration limits in Appendix 12: