The Senate on Thursday passed and sent to the White House legislation that bans lead from children’s toys and seeks to ensure that chemicals posing possible health problems will not end up on toys and articles that kids chew on and play with. White House approval is expected. The SGMA said the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (H.R. 4040) will have a big impact on phthalates and lead paint on toys & sporting goods.


The bill was passed by a vote of 89-3, a reflection of the national outcry over a rash of recalls last years of toys and children’s products contaminated by lead and other dangerous elements.


“We are going to make a big, big difference in the American marketplace,” said Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., a sponsor of the bill, told the Associated Press. In its own statement, the SGMA advised industry participants seeking clarification to call SGMA’s Bill Sells in DC at 202-349-9417 or email him at


The bill would impose the toughest lead standards in the world, banning lead beyond minute levels in products for children 12 or younger. Lead paint was a major factor in the recall of 45 million toys and children’s items last year, including Cookie Monster toys and Tommy the Tank Engines. Many came from China.


It also bans, either permanently or pending further study, children’s goods containing six types of a chemical called phthalates that are widely used to make plastic products softer and more flexible. The chemical industry insisted that phthalates have been used for decades and there is no evidence they pose health risks to humans.


The bill also:

  • Provides whistle-blower protections to employees who report consumer product hazards. The provision was championed by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.

  • Requires the CPSC to set up a user-friendly database where consumers, government agencies, child care providers or doctors could report incidents of injury, illness, death or risk related to products.

  • Makes more products now covered by voluntary industry standards subject to mandatory standards. With that, more toy hazards, including goods containing small magnets that were included in products recalled last year, would be subject to third-party testing requirements

  • Bans three-wheel all-terrain vehicles and strengthens regulation of other ATVs.

The three senators opposing the bill were Republicans Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Jon Kyl of Arizona. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, was the lone House member voting against the measure.