Selling products in Iowa? If so, you may need to ensure compliance with state-level compliance requirements covering recycling, chemicals, and heavy metals content, labeling, electronic cigarettes, and product liability.
Important: This article only serves as an introduction to safety requirements, substance restrictions, labeling, certification, and other compliance requirements in Iowa. It is not a complete guide and is not kept up to date. Further, keep in mind that national product regulations (e.g. CPSIA) apply in all states.
Waste Volume Reduction and Recycling Law
The Waste Volume Reduction and Recycling Law of Iowa establish rules for manufacturers, sellers, and distributors. This law aims to protect public safety and health and conserve the environment by reducing solid waste and toxic chemicals or substances in certain consumer products.
Products Manufactured with Chlorofluorocarbons Prohibited
The Waste Volume Reduction and Recycling Law prohibits the sales or use of chlorofluorocarbons-containing plastic foaming packaging materials.
The chlorofluorocarbons ban is targeted at plastic foam packaging products and food service items such as:
- Foaming agents for insulating materials
- Packing cushions
- Egg cartons
- Hamburger containers
Chapter 455D of the Iowa Code prohibits the sales or use of plastic foam packaging products or food service items containing chlorofluorocarbons.
Packaging Heavy Metal Content
Chapter 455D of Waste Volume Reduction and Recycling Law sets limits to the 4 types of heavy metal content levels contained in consumer product packaging and its components.
Chapter 455D of Waste Volume Reduction and Recycling Law applies to consumer product packaging, food packaging, and the packaging components, such as the following:
- Foil papers
- Plastic wrapping films
- Package cushioning
- Label materials
This section requires that the following types of heavy metal on the packaging or its component should not be contained in an amount higher than 0.01% by weight:
- Hexavalent chromium
Packaging manufacturers should test the heavy metal content level of their packaging using the method suggested in this section, which is the United States Environmental Protection Agency test methods for evaluating solid waste, S-W 846.
To test the heavy metal level in packaging components, manufacturers should use the applicable test methods suggested in this section, which are:
a. ASTM A623 Standard Specification for Tin Mill Products, General Requirements
b. ASTM A879 Standard Specification for Steel Sheet, Zinc-Coated by the Electrolytic Process for Applications Requiring Designation of the Coating Mass on Each Surface
In addition, it requires that manufacturers or distributors of the covered packaging should provide a Certificate of Compliance to the purchasers, retailers, or the authorities if needed.
The Certificate of Compliance is a compulsory document drafted by the packaging manufacturer, which is a statement explaining that the packaging and its components comply with the heavy metal requirements set forth in the section.
Plastic Container Labeling
The Waste Management Act prohibits the sales, distribution of any plastic bottles or rigid plastic containers unless it bears the triangulated arrows label indicating the plastic resin used to produce the product.
The requirements of this section apply to the following types of products:
a. Single-use plastic bottles (capacity of sixteen fluid ounces or more, less than five gallons)
b. Rigid plastic containers (capacity of eight ounces or more, but less than five gallons)
Chapter 455D requires that the plastic containers must contain three triangulated arrows with acronyms representing the type of plastic and a designated number from 1 – 7.
The triangulated arrows and the number should be placed at the bottom of the containers made of the following type of materials:
- Polyethylene terephthalate = PETE 1
- High-density polyethylene = HDPE 2
- Vinyl = V 3
- Low-density polyethylene = LDPE 4
- Polypropylene = PP 5
- Polystyrene = PS 6
- Other plastic resin (include multilayers) = OTHER 7
You can find an example of the plastic recycling symbol here.
Mercury Content Limited
Chapter 455D of the Iowa Code, Waste Volume Reduction and Recycling Law, sets the allowable mercury content level for alkaline manganese batteries sold in the State of Iowa.
The requirement of this chapter applies to alkaline manganese batteries. It excluded alkaline manganese button cell batteries.
The law prohibits companies to sell, distribute, or offer for retail sale alkaline manganese batteries that contain over 2.5% of mercury by weight. As said, this requirement does not apply to alkaline manganese button cell batteries.
Batteries Used in Rechargeable Consumer Products
The Waste Volume Reduction and Recycling Law prohibits the sales and distribution of any rechargeable consumer products unless the manufacturers either fulfill the below requirements or successfully apply for the exemption to the Department of Natural Resources.
The requirements of this chapter apply to rechargeable consumer products such as:
Chapter 455D of the Iowa Code requires that no company is allowed to distribute, sell, or offer for retail sale any rechargeable consumer products unless such product fulfills the following criteria:
a. The battery can be easily removed by the consumer from the product, or the battery is separate from the product and can be easily removed.
b. The battery, the instruction manual, and the product package contain information indicating that the battery must be properly recycled or disposed of. The battery should also include the sign “Cd” or “Ni-Cd” for nickel-cadmium batteries, and “Pb” or “Lead” for small lead batteries.
Manufacturers of rechargeable consumer products may apply to the Department of Natural Resources for exemption if their products fulfill the following conditions:
a. The redesign of the product to comply with the requirements would cause significant danger to public health and safety
b. The battery poses no hazard to public health, safety, or the environment when disposed of with municipal solid waste
c. The product manufacturer has established a recycling program to collect used batteries in an environmentally way
Manufacturers of rechargeable consumer products can apply for an exemption to the Department of Natural Resources by providing the following information:
a. Name, address, and contact number of the applicant
b. A statement explaining the reason and basis to apply for exemption
Disposal Requirements for Household Batteries
The Waste Volume Reduction and Recycling Law requires household battery manufacturers to build up an effective household battery recycling system.
The law applies to consumer dry cell batteries such as the following:
- Lithium batteries
- Mercuric oxide batteries
- Carbon-zinc batteries
- Zinc-air batteries
- Silver oxide batteries
- Nickel-cadmium batteries
- Nickel-hydride batteries
- Alkaline batteries
- Sealed lead-acid batteries
Chapter 455D of the Iowa Code requires that manufacturers of household batteries are responsible to establish a recycling system or program to facilitate the collection and recycling of used household batteries.
The Waste Volume Reduction and Recycling Law prohibits the sale of mercury-added thermostats in the State of Iowa. Manufacturers of thermostats must also establish an effective recycling system or program to collect and recycle mercury-added out-of-service thermostats in the state.
The requirements in this section apply to mercury-added thermostats that are used in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings to sense and control room temperature. It excludes mercury-added thermostats that are used to sense and control the temperature as part of the manufacturing process.
Chapter 455D of the Iowa Code forbids the sale of mercury-added thermostats.
Thermostat manufacturers must establish a recycling system or program to facilitate the collection of out-of-service thermostats in the State of Iowa. They should also submit the recycling program proposal to the Department of Natural Resources for approval.
After the recycling program proposal is approved by the Department of Natural Resources of Iowa, manufacturers should submit an annual report by April 1st every year disclosing the following information:
a. The number of mercury thermostats collected and recycled by the manufacturer in the previous year
b. The estimated amount of mercury contained in the mercury components collected by the manufacturer in the previous year
c. A list of the thermostat wholesalers participating in the recycling program and the number of collection sites
d. An evaluation report of the effectiveness of the collection and recycling program
e. The administrative cost of operating the recycling program
If your products are under the coverage of the Waste Volume Reduction and Recycling Law of Iowa, you should ensure that you comply with the applicable requirements from specific sections.
For example, product packaging sold in Iowa must contain less than 0.01% by weight of lead, cadmium, mercury, and Hexavalent chromium. As for alkaline manganese batteries, the mercury content should be lower than 2.5% by weight.
Lab testing is often the only way to confirm that your product doesn’t contain excessive amounts of restricted substances above the set limitations.
The e-cigarette regulations of Iowa prohibit the sales of e-cigarettes to consumers under the age of 21.
The e-cigarette Regulations apply to electronic cigarettes and vaping products sold in the State of Iowa.
The e-cigarette Regulations of Iowa forbids the sales of e-cigarettes and tobacco products to any person under 21 years of age.
Product Liability Law
The Product Liability Law of Iowa requires that manufacturers, distributors, or sellers ensure the safety and compliance of their products.
The Product Liability Law of Iowa applies to a broad range of consumer products, such as:
Chapter 668 of the Iowa Code outlines the product liability rules in the state. It claims that manufacturers, assemblers, sellers, suppliers of the products are responsible for the damages to the consumers and the claimants regarding the following aspects when their products fail to comply with the regulations at the time it was produced:
Under the Product Liability Law of Iowa, manufacturers, distributors, or sellers are responsible to provide user instructions or warning statements label. They must inform the consumers of the usage methods, warning information, and ways to avoid dangers when using the products.
Let’s take as an example a household electrical fan has the problem of becoming overly heated when working continuity for more than 20 hours. Let’s also assume that, in this case, it might give rise to a short circuit or smoke.
Thus, the fan’s manufacturer or seller should provide a warning label and instructions to inform the users about this fact. It should also provide information on how to avoid accidents and injury.
Companies should ensure that their products are safe for consumers to use and comply with the Product Liability Law or other state or federal regulations. They can consult a lab testing agency regarding the safety of product design, materials, packaging, or other aspects of the products.
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