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CPSC Clarifies Rules on Third-Party Testing and Certification of Children’s Products

Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a rule clarifying two previous regulations on third-party testing and certification of children’s products in an effort to help manufacturers better understand their testing obligations so they can avoid unnecessary testing. This rule will be effective as of Dec. 14 unless significant adverse comment is received by Nov. 16, in which case the CPSC will withdraw the rule before its effective date and address the comments received in a later final rule based on a proposed rule it has issued concurrently with the direct final rule.

Component Part Testing. In November 2011 the CPSC issued a rule allowing domestic manufacturers or importers who are required to certify children’s products to base such certification on their own testing or certification of the product’s component parts or another party’s testing or certification of the finished product.

The CPSC states that this rule may have been misinterpreted as excluding the option of component part testing for products and requirements other than those explicitly specified, which are paint, lead content of children’s products, phthalates in children’s toys and child care articles, and composite testing. The CPSC is now clarifying that manufacturers are free to use component part testing in circumstances other than these. This rule also brings two other provisions in the component part rule up to date by (a) referencing a newer version of the mandatory toy standard, ASTM F963-11, and (b) adding a reference to guidance concerning inaccessible component parts to make the provision concerning phthalates consistent with the provision concerning lead.

Lead Content Limits. The CPSC determined that certain products and materials inherently do not contain lead at levels that exceed the lead content limits in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act so long as those materials have not been treated or adulterated with materials that could add lead. This determination applies to textiles (excluding after-treatment applications, including screen prints, transfers, decals or other prints) consisting of various fibers. The effect of this determination is to relieve such textiles from the third-party testing requirement.

The CPSC states that the phrase “other prints” in the exclusion may mistakenly give the impression that the application process (e.g., printing) is a determining factor as to whether textiles require testing for lead content. As a result, the Commission is clarifying that dyed textiles, regardless of the techniques used to produce such materials and apply such colorants, are not subject to required testing for lead in paint or for total lead content.

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