CPSC Establishes New Federal Mandatory Safety Standard for Button Cell Batteries in Consumer Products Based on ‘Reese’s Law’

September 11, 2023 | The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has voted to approve a federal mandatory safety standard to address the dangers associated with button and coin cell batteries found in common household products.

The recent rulemaking is a result of Reese’s Law, a priority bill sponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) that called for safety standards for batteries in consumer products. Reese’s Law was named in honor of 18-month-old Reese Hamsmith who passed away in December 2020 after swallowing a coin cell battery.

The legislation, supported by The Toy Association™ and signed into law in August 2022, required CPSC to establish a mandatory requirement for child-resistant closures on a range of battery-operated consumer products that utilize button or coin cell batteries. Toys are specifically exempt from Reese’s Law since they are already covered by ASTM F963. CPSC voted to adopt “ANSI/UL 4200A-2023 Standard for Safety for Products Incorporating Button Batteries or Coin Cell Batteries” as the mandatory consumer product safety rule for consumer products containing button cell or coin batteries.

Consistent with Reese’s Law, ANSI/UL 4200A-2023 requires the following:

  • Child-Resistant Compartments: Consumer products covered by the standard must have child-resistant battery compartments. This can be achieved by requiring the use of a tool like a screwdriver or coin to open the battery compartment or by using at least two independent and simultaneous movements to open it by hand. This provision aims to prevent easy access to the batteries by young children.

  • Packaging Requirements: Any button cell or coin battery offered for sale, manufactured for sale, imported into the U.S., or included separately with a consumer product must meet the child-resistant packaging requirements in the Poison Prevention Packaging Standards after February 12, 2023. These packaging requirements do not apply to button cell or coin batteries manufactured or imported on or before February 12, 2023.

  • Performance Testing: Consumer products subject to the standard must pass a series of performance tests that simulate reasonably foreseeable use or misuse.

  • Labeling Requirements: The mandatory standard includes specific labeling requirements for button cell or coin battery packaging and consumer products containing these batteries, which are designed to warn consumers of the ingestion hazard to children.

The mandatory consumer product safety rule comes into effect 180 days after it is published.

Questions from members may be directed to The Toy Association’s Jos Huxley, senior vice president of technical affairs.

Click here to read The Toy Association’s official statement on button cell batteries.