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Reducing Third-Party Testing Costs for Children’s Products to be Focus of CPSC Workshop

Thursday, February 27, 2014
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Consumer Product Safety Commission will hold a workshop April 3 in Rockville, Md., on potential ways to reduce the costs of third-party testing of children’s products through determinations consistent with assuring compliance. Several members of the House of Representatives said last fall that the CPSC voted to move ahead with nine such recommendations in October 2012 but had yet to take action on any of them.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 established limits for the maximum lead content in substrate for accessible component parts of children’s products and for the maximum content of six phthalates for children’s toys and child care articles. The CPSIA also generally requires that children’s products that are subject to a CPSC children’s product safety rule be tested by a third-party, CPSC-accepted laboratory for compliance with applicable CPSC rules. Congress subsequently directed the CPSC to seek comment on opportunities to reduce the cost of third-party testing requirements consistent with assuring compliance with any applicable consumer product safety rule, ban, standard or regulation, which the CPSC did in an April 2013 request for information.

The Commission is now proceeding with this effort by holding a workshop aimed at gathering information and evidence to be considered for any potential future determinations that certain materials, irrespective of their manufacturing origin or manufacturing process, comply with the applicable content or solubility limits of applicable children’s product safety rules with a high degree of assurance, without requiring third-party testing. The workshop will focus on the three areas in which determinations may be made: lead content, phthalate content, and the solubility of the eight elements listed in the Toy Standard. In each case, the CPSC is interested in obtaining information regarding worldwide production of materials used in children’s products, including current and past approaches, rather than attestations that a particular manufacturer or brand does not include the chemical of interest.

Specific topics on which the CPSC is seeking information are listed in the attached notice. The Commission notes that matters such as certification issues, test methods, statutory content limits or definitions will not be discussed at this workshop and that comments on such topics in response to this announcement are not appropriate.

Individuals interested in serving on panels or presenting information at the workshop should register by March 13; all others who wish to attend should register by March 27. The workshop will also be available through a webcast, but viewers will not be able to interact with the panels and presenters. Written comments must be received by April 17.

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