Keeping art safety in check

All art material manufacturers who sell products in the U.S. must have their products evaluated by a qualified toxicologist and labeled, if necessary, for chronic toxicity according to the chronic hazard labeling standard, ASTM D-4236. Membership in The Art and Creative Materials Institute ensures compliance to the Federal law, as well as the individual state art material labeling laws.

LHAMA: How It Affects You

Under the Federal Labeling of Hazardous Art Materials Act (LHAMA), which went into effect on November 18, 1990, every manufacturer, distributor, retailer and some purchasers (schools and teachers) of art materials in the U.S. have a legal responsibility to comply with LHAMA's requirements. And, it affects every user of art materials in that it helps the art materials industry deliver safer products to their artists, hobbyists and children alike.

What does this law require of manufacturers of art materials?
What are my liabilities as a distributor or retailer?

CPSIA: How It Affects You

On August 14, 2008, President Bush signed into law the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) which was created to establish consumer product safety standards and other safety requirements for children’s products and to reauthorize and modernize the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The major components of this new law include lowering lead levels in children’s products, permanent and interim bans on six phthalates in toys and childcare articles, required third party testing of children’s products, and the required issuance of conformity and third party testing certificates with each product shipment. The law wraps in compliance to ASTM F 963, a toy safety standard which exempts art materials products unless they are themselves or produce a product primarily of play value. The law also reauthorizes the Consumer Product Safety Commission and increases their budget and enforcement authority.

Parts of the CPSIA, as it became law, that would impact art material products:
General Conformity Certificate Effective 11/12/08,* every manufacturer of a consumer product that is regulated by a rule, standard, ban or act enforced by CPSC must issue a general certificate of compliance to all such regulations with each product shipment. This would include art materials subject to and not exempted from provisions of CPSA, FHSA (small parts, etc.), FFA, FHSA/LHAMA, PPPA. The certificate must be based on testing of each product or a reasonable testing program. CPSC can prescribe a reasonable testing program and third party testing for general conformity certification but have not done so. Guidelines on content and recipients of such certificates have been developed by CPSC.

The General Conformity Certificate must specify, in English, the following information:

  • The product covered by the certificate
  • Citation to each CPSC product safety regulation to which the product is certified
  • The manufacturer or private labeler issuing the certificate and any third party on whose testing the certificate depends, by name, address and phone number
  • The date and place where the product was manufactured and the date and place of testing
  • Contact information for person maintaining records
  • Each applicable standard, ban, etc.

For detailed information about the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act and what is required of manufacturers of children’s products, click here.