TITLE 23
Health and Safety

CHAPTER 23-24
Hazardous Substances

SECTION 23-24-2


§ 23-24-2 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter:

(1)(i) "Banned hazardous substance" means:

(A) Any toy or other article intended for use by children, which is a hazardous substance, or which bears or contains a hazardous substance in a manner as to be susceptible of access by a child to whom the toy or other article is entrusted; or

(B) Any hazardous substance intended, or packaged in a form suitable, for use in the household, which the council by regulation classifies as a "banned hazardous substance" on the basis of a finding that, notwithstanding any cautionary labeling that is or may be required under this chapter for that substance, the degree or nature of the hazard involved in the presence or use of that substance in households is such that the objective of the protection of the public health and safety can be adequately served only by keeping that substance when so intended or packaged out of the channels of intrastate commerce; provided, that the council, by regulation:

(I) Shall exempt from subdivision (1)(i)(A) of this section articles, such as chemical sets, which by reason of their functional purpose require the inclusion of the hazardous substance involved, or necessarily present an electrical, mechanical, or thermal hazard and which bear labeling giving adequate directions and warnings for safe use and are intended for use by children who have attained sufficient maturity, and may reasonably be expected, to read and heed the directions and warnings; and

(II) Shall exempt from subdivision (1)(i)(A) of this section, and provide for the labeling of, common fireworks (including toy paper caps, cone fountains, cylinder fountains, whistles without report, and sparklers) to the extent that he or she determines that those articles can be adequately labeled to protect the purchasers and users of these articles.

(ii) Proceedings for the issuance, amendment, or repeal of regulations pursuant to subdivision (1)(i)(B) of this section shall be governed by the provisions of § 42-35-3 (other than subsection 42-35-3(b)); provided, that if the council finds that the distribution for household use of the hazardous substance involved presents an imminent hazard to the public health, it may, by order published in a daily newspaper with statewide circulation, give notice of that finding, and upon giving notice the substance when intended or offered for household use, or when packaged as to be suitable for that use, shall be deemed to be a "banned hazardous substance" pending the completion of proceedings relating to the issuance of those regulations.

(2) "Corrosive" means any substance which in contact with living tissue will cause destruction of tissue by chemical action, but shall not refer to action on inanimate surfaces.

(3) "Consumer protection unit" means the consumer protection unit of the department of attorney general;

(4) "Director" means the head of the consumer protection unit of the department of attorney general;

(5) "Extremely flammable" applies to any substance which has a flash point at or below twenty degrees Fahrenheit (20° F.) as determined by the tagliabue open cup tester; the term "flammable" applies to any substance which has a flash point of above twenty degrees (20° F.) to and including eighty degrees Fahrenheit (80° F.), as determined by the tagliabue open cup tester; and the term "combustible" applies to any substance which has a flash point above eighty degrees Fahrenheit (80° F.) to and including one hundred and fifty degrees (150° F.) as determined by the tagliabue open cup tester; except that the flammability or combustibility of solids and of the contents of self-pressurized containers shall be determined by methods found by the director to be generally applicable to those materials or containers, respectively, and established by regulations issued by him or her or which regulations shall also define the terms "flammable", "combustible", and "extremely flammable" in accord with those methods.

(6) "Hazardous substance" means:

(i)(A) Any substance or mixture of substances which:

(I) Is toxic;

(II) Is corrosive;

(III) Is an irritant;

(IV) Is a strong sensitizer;

(V) Is flammable or combustible; or

(VI) Generates pressure through decomposition, heat, or other means, if the substances or mixture of substances may cause substantial personal injury or substantial illness during or as a proximate result of any customary or reasonably foreseeable handling or use, including reasonably foreseeable ingestion by children.

(B) Any substance which the consumer protection unit by regulation finds, pursuant to the provisions of § 23-24-3(a), meet the requirements of subdivision (6)(i)(A) of this section.

(C) Any radioactive substance, if, with respect to this substance as used in a particular class of article or as packaged, the director determines by regulation that the substance is sufficiently hazardous to require labeling in accordance with this chapter in order to protect the public health.

(D) Any toy or other article intended for use by children which the consumer protection unit by regulation determines, in accordance with § 23-24-3(a), presents an electrical, mechanical, or thermal hazard.

(ii) "Hazardous substance" does not apply to pesticides subject to the Pesticide Control Act, chapter 25 of this title, nor to foods, drugs, and cosmetics subject to the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, chapter 31 of title 21, nor to substances intended for use as fuels when stored in containers and used in the heating, cooking, or refrigeration system of a house, nor to manufactured goods in process or waste in transit for proper disposal; but the term applies to any article which is not itself an economic poison but which is a hazardous substance within the meaning of subdivision (6)(i) of this section by reason of bearing or containing an economic poison.

(iii) The consumer protection unit shall make no ruling or order that restricts the manufacture or sale of firearms, firearms ammunition, or components of firearms ammunition including black powder or gunpowder for firearms.

(7)(i) "Highly toxic" means any substance which falls within any of the following categories:

(A) Produces death within fourteen (14) days in half or more than half of a group of ten (10) or more laboratory white rats each weighing between two hundred (200) and three hundred (300) grams at a single dose of fifty (50) milligrams or less per kilogram of body weight, when orally administered; or

(B) Produces death within fourteen (14) days in half or more than half of a group of ten (10) or more laboratory white rats each weighing between two hundred (200) and three hundred (300) grams, when inhaled continuously for a period of one hour or less at an atmospheric concentration of two hundred (200) parts per million by volume or less of gas or vapor or two (2) milligrams per liter by volume or less of mist or dust, provided that concentration is likely to be encountered by humans when the substance is used in any reasonably foreseeable manner; or

(C) Produces death within fourteen (14) days in half or more than half of a group of ten (10) or more rabbits tested in a dosage of two hundred (200) milligrams or less per kilogram of body weight, when administered by continuous contact with the bare skin for twenty-four (24) hours or less.

(ii) If the director finds that available data on human experience with any substance indicate results different from those obtained on animals in the above named dosages or concentrations, the human data shall take precedence.

(8) "Immediate container" does not include package liners.

(9) "Intrastate commerce" means commerce within the state of Rhode Island.

(10) "Irritant" means any substance not corrosive within the meaning of subdivision (2) which on immediate, prolonged, or repeated contact with normal living tissue will induce a local inflammatory reaction.

(11) "Label" means a display of written, printed, or graphic matter upon the immediate container of any substance or, in the case of an article which is unpackaged or is not packaged in an immediate container intended or suitable for delivery to the ultimate consumer, a display of that matter directly upon the article involved or upon a tag or other suitable material affixed to it; and a requirement made by or under authority of this act that any word, statement, or other information that appears on the label shall not be considered to be complied with unless that word, statement, or other information also appears:

(i) On the outside container or wrapper, if there be any, unless it is easily legible through the outside container or wrapper; and

(ii) On all accompanying literature where there are directions for use, written or otherwise.

(12) "Misbranded hazardous substance" means a hazardous substance (including a toy, or other article intended for use by children, which is a hazardous substance or which bears or contains a hazardous substance in a manner as to be susceptible of access by a child to whom that toy or other article is entrusted) intended, or packaged in a form suitable, for use in the household or by children, if the packaging or labeling of that substance is in violation of an applicable regulation issued pursuant to § 23-24.1-3 or 23-24.1-4 or if the substance, except as provided by or pursuant to § 23-24-3, fails to bear a label:

(i) Which states conspicuously:

(A) The name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer, distributor, or seller;

(B) The common or usual name, or the chemical name if there is no common or usual name, of the hazardous substance or of each component which contributes substantially to its hazard, unless the director by regulation permits or requires the use of a recognized generic name;

(C) The signal word "DANGER" on substances which are extremely flammable, corrosive, or highly toxic;

(D) The signal word "WARNING" or "CAUTION" on all other hazardous substances;

(E) An affirmative statement of the principal hazard or hazards, such as "flammable", "combustible", "vapor harmful", "causes burns", "absorbed through skin", or similar wording descriptive of the hazard;

(F) Precautionary measures describing the action to be followed or avoided except when modified by regulation of the consumer protection unit pursuant to § 23-24-3;

(G) Instruction, when necessary or appropriate, for first-aid treatment;

(H) The word "poison" for any hazardous substance which is defined as "highly toxic" by subdivision (7) of this section;

(I) Instructions for handling and storage of packages which require special care in handling or storage; and

(J) The statement:

(I) "Keep out of the reach of children" or its practical equivalent; or

(II) If the article is intended for use by children and is not a banned hazardous substance, adequate directions for the protection of children from the hazard; and

(ii) On which any statements required under paragraph (i) of this subdivision are located prominently and are in the English language in conspicuous and legible type in contrast by typography, layout, or color with other printed matter on the label.

(iii) "Misbranded hazardous substance" also includes a household substance as defined in § 23-24.1-2(3)(i), if it is a substance described in subdivision (6)(i) of this section and its packaging or labeling is in violation of an applicable regulation issued pursuant to § 23-24.1-3 or 23-24.1-4.

(13) "Person" includes an individual, partnership, corporation, and association.

(14) "Radioactive substance" means a substance which emits ionizing radiation.

(15) "Strong sensitizer" means a substance which will cause on normal living tissue through an allergic or photodynamic process a hypersensitivity which becomes evident on reapplication of the same substance and which is designated as such by the director; before designating any substance as a strong sensitizer, the director, upon consideration of the frequency of occurrence and severity of the reaction, shall find that the substance has a significant potential for causing hypersensitivity.

(16) "Toxic" applies to any substance (other than a radioactive substance) which has the capacity to produce personal injury or illness to humans through ingestion, inhalation, or absorption through any body surface.

(17) An article may be determined to present an electrical hazard if in normal use or when subjected to reasonably foreseeable damage or abuse, its design or manufacture may cause personal injury or illness by electric shock.

(18) An article may be determined to present a mechanical hazard if, in normal use or when subjected to reasonably foreseeable damage or abuse, its design or manufacture presents an unreasonable risk of personal injury or illness:

(i) From fracture, fragmentation, or disassembly of the article;

(ii) From propulsion of the article (or any part or accessory of it);

(iii) From points or other protrusions, surfaces, edges, openings, or closures;

(iv) From moving parts;

(v) From lack or insufficiency of controls to reduce or stop motion;

(vi) As a result of self-adhering characteristics of the article;

(vii) Because the article (or any part or accessory of it) may be aspirated or ingested;

(viii) Because of instability; or

(ix) Because of any other aspect of the article's design or manufacture.

(19) An article may be determined to present a thermal hazard if, in normal use or when subjected to reasonably foreseeable damage or abuse, its design or manufacture presents an unreasonable risk of personal injury or illness because of heat as from heated parts, substances, or surfaces.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1977, ch. 90, § 2: G.L. 1956, § 23-38.1-2; P.L. 1979, ch. 39, § 1.)