Announcements - EH: Minnesota Department of Health

Toxic Free Kids Act

Find announcements related to children's environmental here or sign-up for Toxic Free Kids email updates.

Consumer Product Notice: Lead and Cadmium in Spinning Battle Toys

November 26, 2019

Spinning battle toys in packaging and out of packaging

Above image: Sample of name-brand and off-brand spinning battle toys.

The Minnesota Chemicals in Products Interagency Team (CPIT) tested 50 spinning battle toys for lead and cadmium. Fifteen of these toys showed levels of concern. Read and share the Consumer Product Notice: Spinning Battle Toys (PDF) for details.

Deadline extended: Skin Lightening Products Public Awareness and Education Grant

October 31, 2019

The Skin Lightening Products Public Awareness and Education Grant deadline has been extended from October 31, 2019 to November 21, 2019 at 4:30 pm Central Standard Time.

The deadline to submit application questions has been extended from October 21 to November 7 at 12:00 pm Central Standard time.

We anticipate that applicants will be notified of selected grantees by the end of January 2020. Proposed grant activities can begin as soon as February 2020*.
*No work shall begin until all required signatures have been obtained on the grant agreement, and a grantee receives a signed copy of the grant agreement.

The final date to spend grant funds remains unchanged – March 31, 2022.

All applications must be received by MDH no later than 4:30 p.m. Central Time, on Thursday, November 21, 2019. If applications are mailed, they must be received by MDH by the deadline.

Late applications will not be accepted. It is the applicant’s sole responsibility to allow sufficient time to address all potential delays caused by any reason whatsoever. MDH will not be responsible for delays caused by mail, delivery, computer or technology problems.

Electronic applications are preferred, however, both electronic and mail submissions will be accepted.

Request for proposals now open: Skin Lightening Products Public Awareness and Education Grant

September 30, 2019

The application period for the Skin Lightening Products Public Awareness and Education grant is now open. Complete applications must be received by 4:30 pm, Central Standard Time, on Thursday, October 31, 2019.

The purpose of the Skin Lightening Products Public Awareness and Education Grant is to increase public awareness and education on the health dangers associated with using skin lightening products that contain mercury that are manufactured in other countries and brought into the United States and sold illegally online or in stores. Grantees must use the funds to conduct public awareness and education activities that are culturally specific and community-based and focus on:

  • Potential exposure to mercury from skin lightening products
  • The dangers of exposure to mercury through dermal absorption, inhalation, hand-to-mouth contact, and through contact with individuals who have used these skin lightening products
  • The signs and symptoms of mercury poisoning
  • The health effects of mercury poisoning, including the permanent effects on the central nervous system and kidneys
  • The dangers of using these products or being exposed to these products during pregnancy and breastfeeding to the mother and to the infant
  • Knowing how to identify products that contain mercury
  • Proper disposal of the product if the product contains mercury

Funding for these grants is provided under Minnesota Laws 2019, First Special Session chapter 9, section 109. The Skin Lightening Products Awareness and Education Grant Program will award $200,000. From the grant, 50% of the funds will be awarded to community-based organizations and nonprofit organizations and 50% of the funds will be awarded to local public health entities.

Newly released: 2019 Minnesota Chemicals of High Concern List Update

June 28, 2019

Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) completed the 2019 Minnesota Chemicals of High Concern Report (PDF) detailing the third review and revision process for the Minnesota Chemicals of High Concern list. This report also describes the Toxic Free Kids program updates and Chemicals in Products Interagency Team activities.

State of Minnesota continues to take action to stop the sale of toxic kids' jewelry

March 19, 2019

Following the 2017 investigation (PDF) of children's jewelry for lead and cadmium, the Chemicals in Products Interagency Team (CPIT) conducted a second study in 2018. One product, a girl's clothing set with metal pendant, resulted in a national recall.

girls clothing with metal pendant

Do not allow children to put metallic objects, like jewelry or keys, into their mouth.

For more detailed health information, see educational handout Lead and Cadmium in Children’s Jewelry (PDF) and Lead Infographic (PDF).

Limited opportunity for retailers: Test products for flame-retardants

October 22, 2018

Retailers are encouraged to take advantage of free testing of regulated flame-retardants in upholstered furniture and in products for children under 12 years. Link or share this limited Opportunity for Retailers to Test for Flame-Retardants in Products for Free (PDF).

Limited opportunity for retailers

The Minnesota Chemicals in Products Interagency Team (CPI Team) is inviting Minnesota retailers to take advantage of a limited opportunity for free product testing to check for regulated flame-retardants. The CPI Team is offering assistance with testing a selection of your products for levels of restricted flame-retardants in advance of a July 1, 2019 deadline that those flame-retardants be under 1,000 parts per million in furniture and children’s products sold by retailers in Minnesota (see Minnesota Statutes §325F.071). This is an opportunity to review your supply chain, ensure compliance, and protect your customers. The CPI Team will work with retailers to identify products that are subject to Minnesota Statutes §325F.071. Retailers provide product(s) for testing and the CPI Team will cover the full cost of laboratory fees for a certain number of products. Test results will help inform retailers whether their products are or are not in compliance. The CPI Team has funding constraints, so we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible if interested.

  • December 21, 2018: Deadline to participate
  • January 2019: Select product(s) for testing
  • February - March 2019: Test results shared with retailer when available
  • June 2019: Project Completion

If products are found to be non-compliant, the CPI Team will help retailers identify and educate the responsible manufacturers and wholesalers.

As of July 1, 2018, manufacturers and wholesalers cannot make or sell products in Minnesota for children under 12 or upholstered residential furniture which exceed limits on four flame retardants (Minnesota Statutes §325F.071). Retailers selling to Minnesota customers will be subject to the same requirements on July 1, 2019.

The four flame retardants restricted in Minnesota Statute §325F.071:

  1. Tris (1,3-dichloro-2-propyl)phosphate (TDCPP, Chemical Abstracts Service #13674-87-8);
  2. Decabromodiphenyl ether (deca-BDE, CAS #1163-19-5);
  3. Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD, CAS #25637-99-4); and
  4. Tris (2-chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP, CAS #115-96-8).

Legislation was passed in 2015 to restrict these four flame-retardants in order to protect the health of children and firefighters, who have a greater exposure to flame-retardants than the general population. Children are particularly susceptible to the effects of flame-retardants because of their growing, developing bodies. Reducing the amount of these flame-retardants in children’s products and residential furniture will help reduce children and firefighters’ exposure to these chemicals in the dust and air. For more information about this issue, see the 2016 Flame-Retardants and Firefighter Exposure and Health report.

The CPI Team is open to discussing with retailers the opportunity to test for additional flame retardants not outlined in statute with a focus on those flame retardants used as substitutes for restricted flame retardants.

Common products that may contain flame-retardants:

  • Children's clothing and sleepwear
  • Polyurethane and other cushioning foams in residential furniture cushions, baby changing pads, play mats, and children’s car seats and chair padding
  • Fabrics used to upholster residential furniture
  • Baby slings and nursing pillows

Cost savings

  • Obtain test results for selected products at no cost

Business leadership in promoting safer consumer products

  • Help verify compliance of some products by July 1, 2019
  • Learn more about your supply chain
  • Stand out among retailers
  • Join the growing green and sustainable business movement
  • Opportunity to learn one-on-one about the issue of chemicals in products

Customer appreciation

  • Demonstrate you are a leader in safer products and care about customers’ health and our environment
  • Generate positive word-of-mouth from customers to potential, future customers (“protect your brand”)

CPI Team Certification

  • If interested, the CPI Team will prepare a press release stating that your retail business took proactive steps to ensure you are selling safer consumer products

For more information on the testing process, timeline or general questions, please contact:

Michelle Gin
Toxic Free Kids Communications Planner
Minnesota Department of Health

New educational material: Understanding Formaldehyde in Children's and Consumer Products

June 4, 2018

Minnesota law limits formaldehyde in products used in children’s personal care products or certain ingestible products. Take caution when purchasing children’s creams, lotions, and similar products. Some products may contain formaldehyde. High levels of formaldehyde may present a hazard to children.

An educational handout about Understanding Formaldehyde in Children's and Consumer Products (PDF) is available for use.

lotion tube

Formaldehyde is often included in creams, lotions, pastes and similar products as a preservative to inhibit growth of bacteria and extend product shelf life.

Formaldehyde is an eye and skin irritant and can make lungs and skin more sensitive to other irritants. At high levels formaldehyde can also cause cancer.

shopping cartin
  • Avoid products with formaldehyde on the label or ingredient list.
  • Look for other ingredients that indicate formaldehyde may become present in the product:
    • Paraformaldehyde
    • Diazolidinyl urea (Germall II)
    • Dimethyloldimethyl hydantoin (Glydant, DMDM hydantoin or DMDMH)
    • Quaternium-15
    • Imidazolidinyl urea (Germall 115)
    • Methenamine
    • 2-Bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (Bronopol)
    • Poly(p-toluenesulfonamide-co-formaldehyde)
    • Tris(hydroxymethyl) nitromethane (Tris Nitro)
    • Hydroxymethylglycinate (Suttocide A), or sodium hydroxymethylglycinate
  • If you find a children’s product in a store and it lists formaldehyde as an ingredient, please report it to the Chemicals in Products Interagency Team (CPIT) via email, at

Other preservatives used in products are parabens. Consumers may wish to avoid products containing parabens because exposure to some parabens has been associated with hormone changes. This connection suggests parabens may not meet the definition of safer replacements for formaldehyde as required by Minnesota law (Minn. Stat. 325F.178).

The Chemicals in Products Interagency Team (CPIT) cannot review and approve specific products, but here are independent reviewers you can try:

State of Minnesota takes action to stop sale of toxic kids' jewelry
Testing found three children’s products with dangerous levels of cadmium

November 22, 2017

Three children's jewelry products containing toxic levels of cadmium were recalled this month as the result of a joint investigation by three state agencies to enforce Minnesota's Safe Toys Act. As the holiday shopping season begins, the agencies are also offering tips to Minnesota families about how to protect their children against toxic jewelry and toys.

Minnesota has enacted several laws that restrict and regulate toxic chemicals in children’s products. The Minnesota Department of Commerce, Minnesota Department of Health and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency established the Chemicals in Products Interagency Team to enforce these laws and encourage industry compliance.

Earlier this year, the Interagency Team launched a pilot investigation to identify children’s jewelry sold in Minnesota that may pose a health hazard due to toxic chemicals.

The Pollution Control Agency bought 89 children’s jewelry products, both in store and online. Laboratory testing identified three products with extremely high levels of cadmium, a toxic metal. The Department of Health determined that these levels represented a hazard to children, and the Commerce Department then conducted an investigation under the Safe Toys Act.

The three children’s jewelry products were purchased from independent retailers on The Commerce Department notified the retailers that these products posed a toxic hazard to children and violated Minnesota law. The companies voluntarily issued recalls and provided refunds to Minnesota consumers. Amazon removed the online product listings and cooperated with the investigation.

The continuing investigation is focused on identifying the manufacturers and other retailers that may be selling the products.

Some companies now use cadmium as a low-cost substitute for lead, which is highly restricted in children’s products. But cadmium exposure is associated with delayed brain development, kidney and bone damage, and cancer. Babies and young children are at particular risk because they often bite, chew or suck on toys and other objects.

The three state agencies have a fact sheet on the Toys and Safety Act: Enforcement Action and Consumer Tips (PDF), with photos and information about the three products. It also includes consumer tips:

  • Don’t rely on appearances. There is no way to know if a product contains high levels of cadmium, lead or other toxic metals just by looking at it.
  • Buy age-appropriate products. If you have small children, don’t purchase or allow access to jewelry unless specifically labeled for children 6 years and under. General/adult use items may not have been tested as safe for children.
  • Look for product information. U.S.-made jewelry is generally safer. Avoid buying jewelry when there is no information about where it was made. Look for toxic-free certification. In general, you can examine jewelry items, labels and tags more closely in person at a store.
  • Don’t allow your child to put jewelry in their mouth. Toxic exposure can come from biting, chewing or sucking on a piece of jewelry – or, even worse, swallowing it. If your child often puts items in their mouth, keep jewelry and other small objects well out of reach.
  • If your child swallows a piece of jewelry, seek urgent medical attention.

Additionally, Department of Health has a fact sheet about Lead and Cadmium in Children's Jewelry (PDF) that provides information about children's products, such as:

  • How dangerous is lead and cadmium?
  • How can I protect my children from lead and cadmium in children’s jewelry products?
  • How do I safely dispose of jewelry items that may contain lead or cadmium?

For more information, visit these websites:

Regulation of toxic chemicals in children's products and toys in Minnesota

September 26, 2017

In August 2017, a notice was sent out to manufacturers,U distributors, and retailers of children's products in Minnesota. It reinforced that manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of children's products in Minnesota must understand and follow Minnesota statutes that restrict toxic chemicals in consumer products. See the summaries of these laws (PDF).

Updated Tuesday, 26-Nov-2019 09:08:39 CST