ARTICLE
17 April 2024

Navigating The CPSC's New Requirements For Button Cell And Coin Batteries

SH
Scarinci Hollenbeck LLC

Contributor

Scarinci Hollenbeck is a business law firm based in New Jersey, New York, and Washington, D.C servicing clients worldwide. Our focus is niche areas of law most often required by corporate entities, owners, leaders, and operators. Our prestigious roster of attorneys offers the experience and proven results that businesses need to move projects forward. Regardless of the size of your business or the scale of the project, we embrace the unique complexity that comes with doing business in an evolving economy.
After a period of delayed enforcement, compliance is now required for several provisions of Reese's Law (P.L. 117-171), which mandates federal safety requirements for button cell or coin batteries.
United States Consumer Protection
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After a period of delayed enforcement, compliance is now required for several provisions of Reese's Law (P.L. 117-171), which mandates federal safety requirements for button cell or coin batteries. To avoid unintended liability, manufacturers, importers, consumer products using such batteries, and distributors of button cell or coin batteries must be sure to understand their new packaging, performance, and labeling obligations.

Signed into law on August 16, 2022, Reese's Law was enacted to protect children six years old and younger from button cell and coin battery ingestion hazards. Reese's Law defines "button cell or coin batteries" as any single-cell battery with a diameter greater than the height of the battery and any other battery determined by the Commission to pose an ingestion hazard.

As required under the new law, on September 21, 2023, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) published a direct final rule to establish a Safety Standard for Button Cell or Coin Batteries and Consumer Products Containing Such Batteries (16 C.F.R. Part 1263.) The CPSC adopted ANSI/UL 4200A as a mandatory safety standard, which includes construction, performance, and labeling requirements. The CPSC granted a 180-day transitional period of enforcement discretion for its requirements, which expired on March 19, 2024.

Construction Requirements for Products Containing Button Cell and Coin Batteries>

The battery compartments of consumer products containing button cells and coin batteries must be difficult for children to access. In accordance with ANSI/UL 4200A:

  • For products with non-replaceable button cell or coin batteries, the compartment must sealed, not allowing the battery to be removed or replaced.
  • Battery compartments that use screws or similar fasteners must use captive screws/fasteners except when the battery is only accessible through the removal of multiple enclosures or panels using a tool, or the product is only to be opened by a professional service center.
  • Battery compartments in products with removable/replaceable button cell or coin batteries must be secured in one of two ways: a tool such as a screwdriver is required to open the compartment, or opening the compartment requires at least two independent and simultaneous actions.

Performance and Labeling Requirements for Products Containing Button Cell and Coin Batterie

ANSI/UL 4200A also includes performance requirements designed to ensure that batteries do not present a "risk of unintentional access by children." Products must pass various performance tests, including drop, impact, crush, and tension tests, to confirm the batteries are not accessible or liberated as a result of use and abuse testing.

ANSI/UL 4200A also mandates that the principal display panel of packaging for consumer products containing button cell or coin batteries include a warning. The product itself must also bear a warning, if practicable. Additionally, all applicable warnings must be included in any accompanying instructions and manuals.

Notably, the performance and labeling requirements apply to consumer products containing or designed to use button cell or coin batteries. Accordingly, even if the product does not contain the battery when it is manufactured, imported, or sold, it is still subject to the applicable requirements. Consumer products that use such batteries should have a label placed on the battery access area.

Packaging Requirements for Button Cell or Coin Batteries

Section 3 of Reese's Law requires special packaging (child-resistant and senior-friendly packaging) for button cell or coin batteries, whether sold separately or included with a consumer product. Section 3 took effect by operation of the statute on February 12, 2023. While the CPSC announced that it would exercise enforcement discretion for packaging containing zinc-air batteries, enforcement discretion ended on March 8, 2024.

Warning Label Requirements for Packaging of Button Cell or Coin Batteries

UL 4200A–2023 does not contain warning label requirements for button cell or coin battery packaging. Accordingly, the CPSC enacted a separate final rule (88 FR 65296) that applies to the packaging of button cell or coin batteries, including those packaged separately with a consumer product. Among other requirements, labels for batteries sold/packaged separately must include the following statements or similar:

  • Keep in original package until ready to use.
  • Immediately dispose of used batteries and keep them away from children.
  • Do NOT dispose of batteries in household trash.

This requirement will apply to products manufactured or imported after September 21, 2024.

Pursuant to Section 14(a) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA), manufacturers of consumer products subject to a regulation, standard, or ban enforced by the CPSC must certify that those products meet the requirements of the standard by issuing a Children's Product Certificate (CPC) for children's products or a General Certificate of Compliance (GCC) for general-use products. Certificates for products subject to section 2 of Reese's Law must include the citation "16 CFR § 1263.3 – Consumer products containing button cell or coin batteries" or "16 CFR § 1263.4 – Button cell or coin battery package labeling" depending on which requirements apply. Meanwhile, certificates for products subject to section 3 of Reese's Law must include the citation "P.L. 117-171 § 3(a)– Button cell or coin battery packaging."

Next Steps for Impacted Businesses

Failure to comply with the CPSC's new requirements may result in an enforcement action, including costly civil penalties. Accordingly, it is imperative that manufacturers, importers, and distributors of button cell or coin batteries quickly come into compliance. Scarinci Hollenbeck is equipped to provide comprehensive compliance assistance, and we encourage impacted entities to contact us with any concerns.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

ARTICLE
17 April 2024

Navigating The CPSC's New Requirements For Button Cell And Coin Batteries

United States Consumer Protection

Contributor

Scarinci Hollenbeck is a business law firm based in New Jersey, New York, and Washington, D.C servicing clients worldwide. Our focus is niche areas of law most often required by corporate entities, owners, leaders, and operators. Our prestigious roster of attorneys offers the experience and proven results that businesses need to move projects forward. Regardless of the size of your business or the scale of the project, we embrace the unique complexity that comes with doing business in an evolving economy.
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