United States Code
USC most recently checked for updates: Sep 20, 2020
For the purposes of this chapter—
The term “territory” means any territory or possession of the United States, including the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico but excluding the Canal Zone.
The term “interstate commerce” means (1) commerce between any State or territory and any place outside thereof, and (2) commerce within the District of Columbia or within any territory not organized with a legislative body.
The term “Commission” means the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The term “person” includes an individual, partnership, corporation, and association.
The term “hazardous substance” means:
Any substance or mixture of substances which (i) is toxic, (ii) is corrosive, (iii) is an irritant, (iv) is a strong sensitizer, (v) is flammable or combustible, or (vi) generates pressure through decomposition, heat, or other means, if such substance or mixture of substances may cause substantial personal injury or substantial illness during or as a proximate result of any customary or reasonably foreseeable handling or use, including reasonably foreseeable ingestion by children.
Any substances which the Commission by regulation finds, pursuant to the provisions of section 1262(a) of this title, meet the requirements of subparagraph (1)(A) of this paragraph.
Any radioactive substance, if, with respect to such substance as used in a particular class of article or as packaged, the Commission determines by regulation that the substance is sufficiently hazardous to require labeling in accordance with this chapter in order to protect the public health.
Any toy or other article intended for use by children which the Commission by regulation determines, in accordance with section 1262(e) of this title, presents an electrical, mechanical, or thermal hazard.
Any solder which has a lead content in excess of 0.2 percent.
The term “hazardous substance” shall not apply to pesticides subject to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act [7 U.S.C. 136 et seq.], nor to foods, drugs and cosmetics subject to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act [21 U.S.C. 301 et seq.], nor to substances intended for use as fuels when stored in containers and used in the heating, cooking, or refrigeration system of a house, nor to tobacco and tobacco products, but such term shall apply to any article which is not itself a pesticide within the meaning of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act but which is a hazardous substance within the meaning of subparagraph (1) of this paragraph by reason of bearing or containing such a pesticide.
The term “hazardous substance” shall not include any source material, special nuclear material, or byproduct material as defined in the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended [42 U.S.C. 2011 et seq.], and regulations issued pursuant thereto by the Atomic Energy Commission.
The term “toxic” shall apply to any substance (other than a radioactive substance) which has the capacity to produce personal injury or illness to man through ingestion, inhalation, or absorption through any body surface.
The term “highly toxic” means any substance which falls within any of the following categories: (a) Produces death within fourteen days in half or more than half of a group of ten or more laboratory white rats each weighing between two hundred and three hundred grams, at a single dose of fifty milligrams or less per kilogram of body weight, when orally administered; or (b) produces death within fourteen days in half or more than half of a group of ten or more laboratory white rats each weighing between two hundred and three hundred grams, when inhaled continuously for a period of one hour or less at an atmospheric concentration of two hundred parts per million by volume or less of gas or vapor or two milligrams per liter by volume or less of mist or dust, provided such concentration is likely to be encountered by man when the substance is used in any reasonably foreseeable manner; or (c) produces death within fourteen days in half or more than half of a group of ten or more rabbits tested in a dosage of two hundred milligrams or less per kilogram of body weight, when administered by continuous contact with the bare skin for twenty-four hours or less.
If the Commission finds that available data on human experience with any substance indicate results different from those obtained on animals in the above-named dosages or concentrations, the human data shall take precedence.
The term “corrosive” means any substance which in contact with living tissue will cause destruction of tissue by chemical action; but shall not refer to action on inanimate surfaces.
The term “irritant” means any substance not corrosive within the meaning of subparagraph (i) which on immediate, prolonged, or repeated contact with normal living tissue will induce a local inflammatory reaction.
The term “strong sensitizer” means a substance which will cause on normal living tissue through an allergic or photodynamic process a hypersensitivity which becomes evident on reapplication of the same substance and which is designated as such by the Commission. Before designating any substance as a strong sensitizer, the Commission, upon consideration of the frequency of occurrence and severity of the reaction, shall find that the substance has a significant potential for causing hypersensitivity.
The terms “extremely flammable”, “flammable”, and “combustible” as applied to any substance, liquid, solid, or the content of a self-pressurized container shall be defined by regulations issued by the Commission.
The test methods found by the Commission to be generally applicable for defining the flammability or combustibility characteristics of any such substance shall also be specified in such regulations.
In establishing definitions and test methods related to flammability and combustibility, the Commission shall consider the existing definitions and test methods of other Federal agencies involved in the regulation of flammable and combustible substances in storage, transportation and use; and to the extent possible, shall establish compatible definitions and test methods.
Until such time as the Commission issues a regulation under paragraph (1) defining the term “combustible” as applied to liquids, such term shall apply to any liquid which has a flash point above eighty degrees Fahrenheit to and including one hundred and fifty degrees, as determined by the Tagliabue Open Cup Tester.
The term “radioactive substance” means a substance which emits ionizing radiation.
The term “label” means a display of written, printed, or graphic matter upon the immediate container of any substance or, in the case of an article which is unpackaged or is not packaged in an immediate container intended or suitable for delivery to the ultimate consumer, a display of such matter directly upon the article involved or upon a tag or other suitable material affixed thereto; and a requirement made by or under authority of this chapter that any word, statement, or other information appear on the label shall not be considered to be complied with unless such word, statement, or other information also appears (1) on the outside container or wrapper, if any there be, unless it is easily legible through the outside container or wrapper and (2) on all accompanying literature where there are directions for use, written or otherwise.
The term “immediate container” does not include package liners.
The term “misbranded hazardous substance” means a hazardous substance (including a toy, or other article intended for use by children, which is a hazardous substance, or which bears or contains a hazardous substance in such manner as to be susceptible of access by a child to whom such toy or other article is entrusted) intended, or packaged in a form suitable, for use in the household or by children, if the packaging or labeling of such substance is in violation of an applicable regulation issued pursuant to section 1472 or 1473 of this title or if such substance, except as otherwise provided by or pursuant to section 1262 of this title, fails to bear a label—
which states conspicuously (A) the name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer, distributor or seller; (B) the common or usual name or the chemical name (if there be no common or usual name) of the hazardous substance or of each component which contributes substantially to its hazard, unless the Commission by regulation permits or requires the use of a recognized generic name; (C) the signal word “DANGER” on substances which are extremely flammable, corrosive, or highly toxic; (D) the signal word “WARNING” or “CAUTION” on all other hazardous substances; (E) an affirmative statement of the principal hazard or hazards, such as “Flammable”, “Combustible”, “Vapor Harmful”, “Causes Burns”, “Absorbed Through Skin”, or similar wording descriptive of the hazard; (F) precautionary measures describing the action to be followed or avoided, except when modified by regulation of the Commission pursuant to section 1262 of this title; (G) instruction, when necessary or appropriate, for first-aid treatment; (H) the word “poison” for any hazardous substance which is defined as “highly toxic” by subsection (h); (I) instructions for handling and storage of packages which require special care in handling or storage; and (J) the statement (i) “Keep out of the reach of children” or its practical equivalent, or, (ii) if the article is intended for use by children and is not a banned hazardous substance, adequate directions for the protection of children from the hazard, and
on which any statements required under subparagraph (1) of this paragraph are located prominently and are in the English language in conspicuous and legible type in contrast by typography, layout, or color with other printed matter on the label.
The term “misbranded hazardous substance” also includes a household substance as defined in section 1471(2)(D) 1
of this title if it is a substance described in paragraph (1) of subsection (f) of this section and its packaging or labeling is in violation of an applicable regulation issued pursuant to section 1472 or 1473 of this title.
1See References in Text note below.
The term “banned hazardous substance” means (A) any toy, or other article intended for use by children, which is a hazardous substance, or which bears or contains a hazardous substance in such manner as to be susceptible of access by a child to whom such toy or other article is entrusted; or (B) any hazardous substance intended, or packaged in a form suitable, for use in the household, which the Commission by regulation classifies as a “banned hazardous substance” on the basis of a finding that, notwithstanding such cautionary labeling as is or may be required under this chapter for that substance, the degree or nature of the hazard involved in the presence or use of such substance in households is such that the objective of the protection of the public health and safety can be adequately served only by keeping such substance, when so intended or packaged, out of the channels of interstate commerce: Provided, That the Commission, by regulation, (i) shall exempt from clause (A) of this paragraph articles, such as chemical sets, which by reason of their functional purpose require the inclusion of the hazardous substance involved or necessarily present an electrical, mechanical, or thermal hazard, and which bear labeling giving adequate directions and warnings for safe use and are intended for use by children who have attained sufficient maturity, and may reasonably be expected, to read and heed such directions and warnings, and (ii) shall exempt from clause (A), and provide for the labeling of, common fireworks (including toy paper caps, cone fountains, cylinder fountains, whistles without report, and sparklers) to the extent that it determines that such articles can be adequately labeled to protect the purchasers and users thereof.
Proceedings for the issuance, amendment, or repeal of regulations pursuant to clause (B) of subparagraph (1) of this paragraph shall be governed by the provisions of subsections (f) through (i) of section 1262 of this title, except that if the Commission finds that the distribution for household use of the hazardous substance involved presents an imminent hazard to the public health, it may by order published in the Federal Register give notice of such finding, and thereupon such substance when intended or offered for household use, or when so packaged as to be suitable for such use, shall be deemed to be a “banned hazardous substance” pending the completion of proceedings relating to the issuance of such regulations.
An article may be determined to present an electrical hazard if, in normal use or when subjected to reasonably foreseeable damage or abuse, its design or manufacture may cause personal injury or illness by electric shock.
An article may be determined to present a mechanical hazard if, in normal use or when subjected to reasonably foreseeable damage or abuse, its design or manufacture presents an unreasonable risk of personal injury or illness (1) from fracture, fragmentation, or disassembly of the article, (2) from propulsion of the article (or any part or accessory thereof), (3) from points or other protrusions, surfaces, edges, openings, or closures, (4) from moving parts, (5) from lack or insufficiency of controls to reduce or stop motion, (6) as a result of self-adhering characteristics of the article, (7) because the article (or any part or accessory thereof) may be aspirated or ingested, (8) because of instability, or (9) because of any other aspect of the article’s design or manufacture.
An article may be determined to present a thermal hazard if, in normal use or when subjected to reasonably foreseeable damage or abuse, its design or manufacture presents an unreasonable risk of personal injury or illness because of heat as from heated parts, substances, or surfaces.
(Pub. L. 86–613, § 2,
July 12, 1960, 74 Stat. 372; Pub. L. 89–756, §§ 2(a)–(c), 3(a), Nov. 3, 1966, 80 Stat. 1303, 1304; Pub. L. 91–113, §§ 2(a), (c), (d), 3, Nov. 6, 1969, 83 Stat. 187–189; Pub. L. 91–601, § 6(a), formerly § 7(a), Dec. 30, 1970, 84 Stat. 1673, renumbered Pub. L. 97–35, title XII, § 1205(c), Aug. 13, 1981, 95 Stat. 716; Pub. L. 92–516, § 3(1), Oct. 21, 1972, 86 Stat. 998; Pub. L. 94–284, § 3(c), May 11, 1976, 90 Stat. 503; Pub. L. 95–631, § 9, Nov. 10, 1978, 92 Stat. 3747; Pub. L. 99–339, title I, § 109(d)(1), June 19, 1986, 100 Stat. 653; Pub. L. 110–314, title II, § 204(b)(2), (4)(A), (B), (D), Aug. 14, 2008, 122 Stat. 3041, 3042.)
cite as: 15 USC 1261