Background

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has established mandatory safety standards for clothing storage units (effective May 25, 2023) and customs window coverings with accessible operating cords (effective May 28, 2023).

Clothing storage units. CSUs are freestanding furniture items typically used for storing clothes. Examples include chests, bureaus, dressers, chests of drawers, drawer chests, door chests, chifforobes, armoires, and wardrobes. CSUs are available in a variety of designs (e.g., vertical or horizontal dressers), sizes (e.g., weights and heights), dimensions, and materials (e.g., wood, plastic, leather, manufactured wood, or fiber board). Examples of items that may not be considered CSUs include shelving units, office furniture, dining room furniture, laundry hampers, built-in closets, and single-compartment closed rigid boxes (storage chests).

Under a new final rule, CSUs must be tested for stability, exceed minimum stability requirements, be marked and labeled with safety information, and bear a hang tag providing performance and technical data about the stability of the unit.

Window covering cords. Window coverings include a wide range of products, including shades, blinds, curtains, and draperies. A cord or loop used to manipulate a window covering is called an operating cord and may be in the form of a single cord, multiple cords, or continuous loops. “Cordless” window coverings are designed to function without an operating cord but may contain inner cords.

Under a new final rule, operating cords on custom window coverings must meet the same requirements already in place under a voluntary standard (ANSI/WCMA-2018) for stock window coverings. As a result, they must be cordless, inaccessible, or eight inches or shorter in length in any use position. Subject cords will require testing and certification to this rule under section 14 of the Consumer Product Safety Act, and those that meet the definition of a children’s product will require testing by a CPSC-accredited third-party conformity assessment body.

The CPSC notes that this rule provides two methods to make operating cords inaccessible under the rule and allows the use of a loop cord and bean chain restraining device to prevent the formation of hazardous loops.

For more information on these or other product safety issues, please contact Beth Ring at (212) 549-0133 or Ned Steiner at (202) 730-4970.

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