Children's Safe Products Act (CSPA)

teddy bear in a bed with a pillow and blankets
In 2008, Washington's Legislature passed the Children's Safe Products Act (or CSPA) (Chapter 70A.430 RCW). This law applies to children’s products sold in Washington state. Washington’s laws apply to a broader range of consumer products than those covered by federal limits.

CSPA does the following:

What is a children’s product?

The law defines children’s products as those that fall under these six main categories:

  1. Toys.
  2. Children’s cosmetics made or marketed to children under the age of 12.
  3. Children’s jewelry made or marketed to children under the age of 12.
  4. Products to help a child with sucking or teething, sleeping, relaxation, or feeding.
  5. Products designed or intended to be worn as clothing or footwear by children.
  6. Portable infant or child automobile safety seats.

The law also defines what is not included as a children’s product (e.g., video toys, bicycles, certain sporting equipment, and chemistry sets).

Why does CSPA limit the chemicals that it does?

CSPA limits or bans the use of certain chemicals due to their potential health risks, especially to children. These chemicals are also on our list of priority toxic chemicals due to their harmful impacts on the environment and wildlife.


Cadmium is a heavy metal that is made when refining zinc ore. It is used in pigments for plastics, ceramic, glass, and enamels. It is also used as a stabilizer for polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and in alloys and coatings on steel and other metals.

Health impacts due to exposure to cadmium and cadmium components can result in:

  • Cancer (cadmium is a known carcinogen).
  • Kidney damage.
  • Lung damage.
  • Fragile bones or bone loss.
  • Gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting.

Learn about the dangers of cadmium in children's jewelry.

Flame retardants

Flame retardants are a group of chemicals that manufacturers add to products such as foam, plastics, textiles, and others to meet flammability standards. Some of these chemicals pose health risks as well as impacts on the environment:

  • Cancer
  • Endocrine and reproductive effects
  • Neurological and developmental disorders
  • Some flame retardants bioaccumulate (i.e., they build up in living organisms over time), which can harm wildlife such as orcas and other species at the top of the food chain


Lead is both a naturally-occurring metal and a highly toxic chemical to people and wildlife. It can cause many different types of health problems, but children are more vulnerable than adults to the toxic effects of lead.

The main concern for children is the effect lead has on brain development. Lead is known to cause damage to the brain and nervous system resulting in:

  • Decreased IQs.
  • Learning problems.
  • Hearing and speech problems.
  • Antisocial and other behavioral issues.

In adults, lead exposure can lead to:

  • High blood pressure.
  • Kidney damage.

Lead has been used in products such as paint, ceramics, solders, batteries, cosmetics and plastic such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

More information:


Phthalates are a group of chemicals that can be used to make plastics more flexible, and as solvents and fixatives, such as to extend the life of scents in fragrances.

Some can cause the following health and environmental issues:

  • Hormone disruption.
  • Impaired reproduction and development in wildlife.
  • Toxic to aquatic life. 

How do we enforce CSPA requirements?

Product testing studies

We monitor the market by conducting product testing studies. We have initiated over 20 product testing studies on products such as children’s clothing, jewelry, cosmetics, toys, bottles, bedding, furniture, and more. As a result of our product testing efforts, we have issued over 150 compliance letters to manufacturers.

Study development

We develop studies that focus on priority toxic chemicals, popular products, underrepresented or more susceptible populations, and manufacturers with previous violations. Some of our studies include the following:

Enforcement actions

Most enforcement actions have specific deadlines that manufacturers need to respond by. Failure to respond by the deadline reduces the opportunity to contest the enforcement action. 

  • RCW 70A.430.070 clarifies our enforcement process for manufacturers of restricted products, including penalties and required recall actions.
  • WAC 173-334-120 clarifies our enforcement process for manufacturers that fail to comply with reporting requirements.

How do Washington limits compare to federal limits?

Washington’s laws apply to a broader range of children’s products than those covered by federal limits on cadmium and phthalates, but federal lead limits apply to nearly all children’s products as defined by Washington law.

For more detailed information, read our guidance on enforcement for lead, cadmium, and phthalates.

Click the image to go to our Safer Products for Washington resources page.
Concerned about toxic chemicals in other products?

Our Safer Products for Washington program works to make consumer products safer. Learn more about:

  • Types of harmful, unregulated chemicals in everyday products.
  • Products in your home that might have these chemicals.
  • How you can protect yourself from exposure.
  • How to connect with the Safer Products for Washington team.

Go to our Safer Products for Washington resources page for information and safety tips.