New regs for Tuesday: plastic toys, mortgage loans, air conditioners, Syria flights

Tuesday’s edition of the Federal Register contains rules from the Consumer Product Safety Commission for plastic toy manufacturers, a new threshold from the Department of Treasury for high-risk mortgage loan appraisal exemptions, energy standards for vertical heat pumps and air conditions from the Department of Energy and an extended ban on flights over Syria. 

Here’s what is happening: 

Plastic toys: The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is considering a rule that will prohibit children’s toy manufacturers from being able to use some plasticizers, known as phthalates, in children’s toys. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, phthalates are a group of chemicals used to make plastics more flexible and harder to break. They’ve been used in teethers, plastic toys, home furnishings, air fresheners, automobile interiors, cosmetics, medications and medical devices, to name a few.

The proposed rule would prohibit manufacturers from using diisononyl phthalate (DINP) regardless of whether the toy can be placed in a child’s mouth and add di-n-pentyl phthalate (DPENP), di-n-hexyl phthalate (DHEXP), dicyclohexyl phthalate (DCHP) and diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP) to the list of prohibited phthalates. The first three listed are not currently used in children’s products and though the fourth, DIBP, has been found in some toys CPSC said it’s not widely used.  

The public has 75 days to comment. 

High-risk mortgages: The Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve System’s Board of Governors and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are moving forward with a rule that will increase the threshold for exempting higher-risk mortgage loans from special appraisal. 

The Truth in Lending Act requires a special appraisal for higher-risk mortgages above $25,000. 

The rule will up the threshold to $25,500 starting Jan. 1. 

Air conditioners and heat pumps: The Department of Energy is considering more stringent energy conservation standards for single package vertical air conditioners and single package vertical heat pumps. 

Under the proposed rule, single package vertical heat pumps and air conditioners with a cooling capacity less than 65,000 Btu per hour will have stricter standards than the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers Standards. These products will have to have energy efficiency ratios of 11 by 2019.  

The public has 60 days to comment. 

Flights over Syria: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is extending its ban on certain flights over Syria. 

The rule, which takes effect immediately, restricts U.S. air carriers, U.S. commercial operators, people exercising the privileges of a U.S. airman certificate and operators of U.S.-registered civil aircrafts from flying in the Damascus (OSTT) Flight Information Region, which includes all of Syria, for another two years.  

FAA believes there are a number of armed extremist groups in the Western Asia country with anti-aircraft weapons. 

“These groups have successfully shot down Syrian military aircraft and have previously warned civil air carriers against providing service to Syria. Due to the presence of these weapons, threats made by the extremist groups, and ongoing fighting throughout Syria involving various forms of weaponry used by various groups, as well as military fighter aircraft used by the Syrian Air Force, the FAA believes there is a significant threat to U.S. civil aviation operating in the OSTT FIR at any altitude.”

The ban, which FAA first issued on Aug. 18, would have expired on Dec. 31 if new restrictions had not been adopted.