DEHP in children's plastic items

The ban applies to toys, childcare articles, eating vessels and utensils that meet certain criteria.

About the ban

This ban prohibits supply of certain plastic products that:

  • are intended for use by children up to and including 36 months of age
  • contain or have an accessible component containing more than 1 per cent by weight of DEHP
  • are products that children up to and including 36 months of age can readily chew and/or suck.

This ban only applies to toys, childcare articles, and eating vessels and utensils that meet each of the above criteria.

About DEHP

DEHP is a  chemical identified by the unique Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) Number 117-81-7. It is also known as:

  • diethylhexyl phthalate
  • di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate and bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate.

DEHP is a commonly used plasticiser that is used to make plastics such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) soft and flexible. The use of DEHP in many applications, other than those covered by this ban, are considered appropriate and safe.

Products covered by the ban

Only products or components that are made from soft flexible plastic or foamed plastic will potentially contain DEHP. The ban includes the following non-exhaustive lists of products.

Toys made from soft plastic or with a soft plastic component, including:

  • bath toys
  • bats and balls such as imitation, miniature or novelty versions of sporting goods
  • dolls, cars, trains, dress ups and blocks PVC squeeze toys such as plastic ducks
  • plastic figures
  • inflatable toys and balls other than those for the specific purpose of assisting a supervised child to float or swim in water
  • infant activity centres and infant gyms
  • musical instruments
  • developmental and educational toys for infants
  • soft books / bath books
  • toys or accessories intended to hang from, or attach to, larger toys and childcare articles.

Childcare articles made from plastic or with a plastic component for children up to and including 36 months of age can readily suck and/or chew. These items are expressly included in the ban:

  • dummies
  • pacifiers
  • teething rings
  • teething rails
  • rattles
  • bibs
  • gum soothers
  • comforting objects.

Eating vessels and utensils made from plastic or with a plastic component that are intended for feeding infants up to and including 36 months of age. These items are expressly included in the ban:

  • feeding bottles
  • sip/sucking cups
  • bowls
  • plates
  • cutlery.

Exclusions

These goods are expressly excluded:

  • clothing and footwear
  • sporting goods
  • flotation aids and aquatic toys for the specific purpose of assisting a supervised child to float or swim in water
  • second-hand goods are also not covered by this ban.

These are other items that children up to and including 36 months are not likely to suck or chew regularly over substantial periods. While these are not expressly excluded from the ban, it is considered that they are not covered:

  • large toys such as cubby houses, slides and swings
  • childcare articles with restraints to hold the child such as change tables, prams and car seats
  • eating vessels and utensils for older children and adults
  • single use disposable cutlery.

Materials such as metal, wood, glass, ceramic, natural fibre fabrics and hard rigid plastics do not contain DEHP.

Complying with the ban

Consumer Protection Notice No. 11 of 2011 sets out the requirements of this ban.

Check for appropriate age labelling

Under the ban, toys that are labelled as not being suitable for children under 36 months or under three  years of age are not covered if the age labelling is appropriate for
the product. You can find guidance for establishing age grades of toys in:

  • Annex B of AS/NZS ISO 8124.1:2002 Safety of Toys
  • the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Age Determination Guidelines: Relating Children's Ages To Toy Characteristics and
    Play Behaviour—September 2002, which is available free of charge from the CPSC website.

Ensure tests and test reports are correct

The concentration limit of 1 per cent of the weight equates to a maximum limit of 10 000 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) when expressed in the internationally recognised SI units.

In the case of products made from more than one component, the 1 per cent weight concentration limit only applies to each individual component that may contain DEHP.

Internal components that are inaccessible to mouthing are not readily sucked and/or chewed by children. Such internal components are not included in determining the 1 per cent by weight concentration limit for DEHP.

Related resources

Children’s plastic products with more than 1 per cent diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) - Supplier guide

Enforcement

Failure to supply compliant products can result in the ACCC taking action, culminating in:

  • infringement notices of $10 200 for companies and $2040 for individuals
  • court enforceable undertakings
  • disqualification from being a company director
  • court action with penalties up to $1.1m for companies or $220 000 for individuals
  • recall of product.

See: Penalties & consequences.