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USA: States and municipalities warning label requirements on plastic bags

APRIL 2019 - Relevant for: Electrical and electronics, Hardlines, Softlines, Toys and children's products

In the US, there are no federal laws which require warning labels on plastic bags. However, in order to help prevent child suffocations, some states and a few municipalities have enacted their own legislation with regards to suffocation warning labels for plastic bags.

Applicability: These regulations apply to plastic bags intended for household use or for packaging articles intended for household use, or which is so designed or decorated so as to encourage its use as a toy, that meet certain dimensional requirements.

If bag thickness on average is < 1mil and with a certain size opening specified in table below, warning label is required, 

States/ municipalities

Label is required if

California

Size of opening>25in2 or capacity>125in3

Chicago, IL

Bags intended for household use, other than ones used for food products weighting ≤ 5lb

Massachusetts

Size of opening in diameter ≥ 7in. and Length + Width ≥ 25in.

New York

Size of opening in diameter ≥ 7in. and Length + Width ≥ 25in.

Rhode Island

Size of opening in diameter > 5in.

Virginia

Labelling is required for DRY CLEANING BAGS if Length totals ≥ 25in.

Warning labelling type size and placement requirements summary is made in below table,

States/ municipalities

Labelling type size and placement

California

Total length and width of bag (X)

Size of print

Additional requirement

Rhode Island


X ≥ 60 inches

≥ 24 point

California Code restricts inclusion of any cartoon, picture, or caricature is on covered bags.

40 ≤ X < 60 inches

≥ 18 point

30 ≤ X < 40 inches

≥ 14 point

X < 30 inches

≥ 10 point

Chicago, IL

No size and placement requirements

Massachusetts

Total length and width of bag (X)

Size of print

Additional requirement

X ≥ 60 inches

≥ 24 point

Appear on both side of bag. Repeated at 20-inch intervals (if the L + W > 40in.)

40 ≤ X < 60 inches

≥ 18 point

25 ≤ X < 40 inches

≥ 14 point

Appear on both side of bag

New York

Total length and width of bag (X)

Size of print

X ≥ 60 inches

≥ 24 point

40 ≤ X < 60 inches

≥ 18 point

30 ≤ X < 40 inches

≥ 14 point

25 ≤ X < 30 inches

≥ 10 point

 Virginia

Bags intended for freshly clean clothes

≥ 36 point

The warning shall be printed clearly so as to prevent the ink from smearing, or upon a gummed label securely attached to the plastic bag, and shall be printed in a prominent place with legible bold face type which shall be contrasted by typography, layout or colour from the contents of the bag and from other printed matter on the bag, if any.

Note: The warning shall be permissible to print the warning on the outside wrapper of packages of bags intended only for home processing use, such as freezer bags and garbage disposal bags, in lieu of on each individual bag.

 

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