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February 21, 2022

CPSC updates packaging guidance for non-household substances

The PPPA covers products classed as 'household substances' and those only intended for institutional use.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) Office of Compliance and Field Operations has updated its guidance for substances not intended for household use under the Poison Prevention Packaging Act (PPPA).

The revised guidelines state that products categorised as ‘household substances’ and those only intended for institutional use must be sold in special packaging under the PPPA guideline.

CPSC staff will consider various factors when determining whether to seek corrective action for non-compliant products intended for use in commercial and institutional settings where the risk of PPPA substances is minimal.

Factors to be considered include how and where products are advertised, marketed, sold, labelled and distributed, as well as the configuration, type and size of their packaging.

The CPSC will also review whether the ancillary instructions provided on the package are intended for consumers, as well as product reviews and other evidence suggesting the nature and extent of consumer use.

In a statement, CPSC said: “Even substances intended for institutional use only, and labelled as such, must be in special packaging unless the packaging meets one of the recognised limited exceptions.

“Although CPSC staff may consider certain factors discussed below, when determining whether to seek corrective action, no blanket ‘institutional use’ exception exists for covered products.

“This guidance is effective immediately and supersedes any prior agency guidance concerning institutional use.”

Originally passed in 1970, the PPPA requires packaging for certain household substances to comply with special packaging standards found in 16 CFR § 1700.15.

Special or child-resistant packaging must be designed to be ‘significantly difficult’ for children aged younger than five years to access toxic or harmful substances.

The legislation does not include statutory exceptions to compliance for substances that require special packaging, such as that used in hospitals, nursing homes, construction sites or other commercial settings.

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