Compliance with lead standards gets closer scrutiny


This article has been republished with the permission of Furniture Today USA.

Words: Thomas Russell

Lead standards for a variety of consumer products ranging from metal components to furniture, toys and even food products have been in place for many years, but those standards appear to be getting headlines of late thanks to various enforcement actions aimed at protecting the general public.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Attorney General’s office have announced either product recalls or settlements involving products with lead content.

This year, for example, the CPSC has announced three recalls involving furniture with excessive levels of lead paint. These included an outdoor wicker chair sold by Pier 1, a piano bench sold by Yamaha Corp. and several metal top dining tables sold by RH. The CPSC advised that consumers stop using the items and remove them from areas that children access in the home.

Last year, the California Attorney General’s office also announced multiple Prop 65 settlements involving products containing high levels of lead or lead compounds found primarily in components. The settlements are a way for companies to avoid costly legal proceedings involving a Prop 65 violation.

According to a 2016 report, there were more than $3.3 million in out-of-court settlements involving lead or lead compounds, or about a third of the total, and about $9.2 million in court-approved settlements, or 46% of the total for the year.