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Agency Finalizes Rule on Product Safety Labeling for Packaged Media Marketed to Children

Agency Finalizes Rule on Product Safety Labeling for Packaged Media Marketed to Children

Under a new rule from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), music, movie and game distributors may have to add tracking labels to certain children’s titles to satisfy a congressionally-mandated mechanism for safety recalls.

Most DVDs, CDs, and game packages are not subject to the labeling requirements, which are designed to limit children’s risk of exposure to lead and other chemicals as part of the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA). But as Sean Bersell, VP Public Affairs at the Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) notes, some children’s entertainment may be classified by the CPSC as “children’s products” under the new criteria.

The law defines “children’s product” as any “consumer product designed or intended primarily for children twelve years of age or younger.” The CPSC’s interpretive rule (PDF) offers manufacturers several factors for determining whether a given CD, DVD or videogame disc should be considered a “children’s product” — including reference to the title’s rating by industry groups such as the Motion Picture Association of America and .

At issue for distributors and disc manufacturers is whether they can reliably predict which way the government

In a note to his association members, Bersell says that the new rule provides “no blanket exemption for movies and video games aimed at children under age four” — reversing an earlier proposed interpretation. The agency, Bersell adds, “had previously suggested that very young children lack the motor skills to personally use the products and the physical products themselves (as opposed to the content they contain) have no appeal to children.” Ultimately, however, “the CPSC decided that such a bright line exemption would ‘only further complicate’ the age determination.”

The rule takes effect upon publication in the government’s Federal Register.

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