Changes to CPSIA Testing

On January 6, 2010, Intertek, a major testing provider, held a webinar on CPSIA changes: “Revised Rules of the Road: How Changes to CPSIA Testing and Certification Requirements Impact You.” RDIA member Alison Maynes of LolliDoo Diapers attended the webinar and provided the report below.

The Challenge

Since the enactment of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) last year, many have struggled to understand and comply with the law’s new product testing and certification requirements. In a series of votes last week, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced new enforcement policies and the agency’s intention to take up an Intertek petition aimed at easing the burden imposed by the CPSIA—making testing and certification for mandatory safety standards more efficient and effective. However, several of these measures are provisional in nature, and have conditions on when they can be utilized and how they can be relied upon by manufacturers and importers who are required to ensure their products meet U.S. standards.

The Solution

Intertek is committed, not only to providing you with the most accurate and timely information about these developments, but also finding effective and affordable solutions for your testing and other product safety needs. Toward that end, on January 6, 2010, Intertek experts will be hosting a free webinar to explain in detail last week’s actions by the CPSC, and what each does or does not mean to you in practical terms. The webinar will include a Q&A session to enable participants to have their specific questions and concerns addressed.

The CPSC last week voted to:

1. Extend the existing “stay” (delay) of enforcement for the CPSIA requirement that products covered by the federal safety standards be certified with a General Conformity Certificate, or “GCC.” This applies to a number of (but not all) product safety standards, notably the ban on lead in the content (substrate) of children’s products, the ban on certain phthalates (plastic softeners) in toys and child care articles, and the general toy safety standard (ASTM F-963). However, compliance requirements for lead in content, phthalates and ASTM F-963 are still in effect.

2. Adopt a new “Interim Enforcement Policy” that, under certain circumstances, will allow the certification of products for the lead-in-paint standard (and ultimately the lead-in-substrate standard) based on testing components (including paint) rather than testing only the final products.

3. Publish for public comment and formally consider a petition submitted by Intertek and the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) to specifically allow certain test methods for the lead-in-paint standard (specifically “spray sampling,” “multiple stamping” and “finished component testing”) that will save manufacturers both time and money in testing products.

Each of these votes, along with issues surrounding them, is admittedly complex. All of these actions taken by the CPSC could be superseded by a broader testing regulation the agency is expected to issue sometime next year which can impact your holiday 2010 products. However, with careful understanding and application, manufacturers and importers of consumer products can ensure that their products meet all applicable safety standards and that they do not incur unnecessary expense or delay in testing and certifying their products to those standards.

Stay of Enforcement

CPSC voted to lift the stay for certain standards beginning February 10, 2010. This continues the stay for lead and substrate one year longer.

The stay of enforcement is continued for general wearing apparel, which applies to cloth diapers.

Component Testing

CPSC now allows component testing for certain products for lead and paint standards.

The component testing documents allows for component testing to children’s products subject to the lead paint and lead substrate standard – 300 parts per million. As long as your product meets the standard, you don’t need third-party testing or the GCC.

Though the paint standards don’t apply to diapers, this gives an indication of the direction CPSC can be expected to go in their interpretations of the law.

General Conformity Certificates

You can certify as a manufacturer (not retailer) based on a test by an approved third-party lab. Based on a passing test report, you can issue a GCC based on another issuance of a certificate.

Compliance Testing

A sample sent for testing must be representative of what is used on the product, though it doesn’t need to be the same quantity.

There is a very detailed testing guidance document on the CPSC website. This document has not been voted on as regulation at this time. It is, however, a good indicator of what will be in place in the near future.

Children’s Product Definitions

Note the CPSC is working on a new regulation of the terms “children’s product,” “toy,” and “child care articles.”

Bottom line: make sure your product complies with the standards set out in the CPSIA.

I should receive a PDF document of the presentation soon, so please email me if you’d like a copy:

Alison Maynes
LolliDoo Diapers