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Illinois Packaging Regulations

Also see US Packaging Regulations

Several states in the US maintain strict packaging rules for both manufacturers and distributors.  Each state’s laws vary to some degree from one another, but each shares a common goal: safety.  One is the packaging law enforced in the state of Illinois, the Illinois Poison Prevention Packaging Act (IPPPA).  The IPPPA regulates packaging containers going out of and coming into the state as they relate to child safety. Let’s explore this set of rules in more depth.

IL Poison Prevention Packaging Act

The United States has a set of regulations enacted in 1970 which formed the basis for the Illinois law.  Specifically, the Packaging Act is meant to protect children from accidental consumption of dangerous items from various packaging containers, such as pill bottles.  Under this law, children 5 and under should not be able to readily open dangerous products, necessitating the use of secure packaging.  As early as 1972, aspirin was packaged in secure bottles, each of which used lids that require an individual to line up arrows to open the bottle.

This rule is a double-edged sword, as regulating packaging closures does indeed keep children from accessing dangerous items, but arthritic (and often elderly) individuals have a hard time with these containers.  For that demographic, alternate packaging caps are usually available.

Illinois-Specific Guidelines

Though the Poison Prevention Packaging Act exists in some form all over the country, the state of Illinois does have specific provisions.  In Illinois, packages subject to the Act are known as “special packaging” and are difficult for those 5 and under to open. The Director of the enforcing office is permitted to set forth several rules:

  • If household product contents are dangerous enough that they pose a substantial risk to child safety, the Director may require said products to be packaged in special packaging to protect children from injury or illness resulting from handling or ingesting the contents.
  • The Director may enact standards for special packages in the event that the required packaging is feasible, practical and appropriate.
  • In this case, the reasonableness of the established packaging standard should be evaluated; scientific, medical and engineering information about child accidents regarding such packaging and corresponding substances should be examined and manufacturing processes of both product and packaging as well as their intended household uses should be analyzed.
  • The Director may prohibit dangerous substances from being packaged in a manner that is “unnecessarily attractive” to children.
  • In the course of his examination of both products and packaging, the Director must make his findings available to the public as they relate to any actions he is taking.
  • Though the enforcing Director may test and set standards for packaging to some degree, it is important to note that he is not in total control over special packaging.  Certain packaging details are not in his purview of control, including:
    • Packaging designs
    • Product content
    • Package quantity
    • Package labeling (with few exceptions)


Under the law in Illinois, certain packaging exceptions exist.  Provisions are made for packaging containers which cannot be in compliance with the IPPPA.  These include:

  • Product Accessibility. Products which are usually subject to special packaging standards may be packaged in alternative containers with special labels (i.e. “Not intended for children) for means of access to the elderly and handicapped. For general safety and regulation compliance, these items must also be available in protected packaging.
  • If such items are not also made available in safe packaging, the Director may permit the manufacturer to rectify the issue; if it remains unresolved the Director may require that all of the given product be packaged exclusively in special packaging.
  • Prescribed Substances. Household substances prescribed by a medical professional may be packaged in a way that does not comply with regulations only when the purchaser requests it.

The details of the IPPPA are indeed lengthy and involved. To present the entirety of this law would require far more time and space, however, the above information should provide a solid framework.  This law serves a priceless purpose, though: protecting children.  Abiding by it ensures that no one is harmed by those everyday items that we don’t usually think much about.