Contributing Lawyers

Canada

Cyndee Todgham Cherniak

United States

Susan Kohn Ross

Australia

Andrew Hudson



CPSC Further Extends Testing And Certification Deadlines

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has agreed to extend the deadline by which testing and certification of lead content in the substrate of some children’s products must commence, but that does not change the restrictions on lead paint in children’s products or other products not covered by the stay. The legal requirements remain in place and traders should expect to follow them, even if the testing/certification protocols have not yet been approved by CPSC under the authority of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). The deadline was extended by one year, or until February 10, 2011.

The distinction between what products must comply now and those which have been granted a stay turns on whether or not CPSC has published laboratory accreditation requirements, which currently exist for such products as the lead in paint ban, crib and pacifier standards, small parts ban, and the lead content of metal components in children’s jewelry. Once CPSC approves the lab testing protocols for the remaining product categories, those standards will be announced, and 90 days later they become effective. At that point, traders will be required to comply by testing their products

  • Children’s products subject to the stay include toys, child care articles (phthalates ban), toys subject to the ASTM F963 safety standard, caps and toy guns, clacker balls, baby walkers, bath seats, other durable infant products, electronically operated toys, youth all-terrain vehicles, youth mattresses, children’s bicycles, carpets and rugs, vinyl plastic files, and children’s sleepwear.
  • If manufactured after February 10, 2010, certification is required for children’s bicycle helmets, bunk beds, infant rattles, and dive sticks. Adult products subject to certification if manufactured after February 10, 2010, include all-terrain vehicles, bicycle helmets, adult bunk beds, mattresses, paint, and household furniture subject to the lead paint regulations.

At the same time, CPSC has authorized component part testing for lead in children’s products, which means that either the entire product may be sent out for testing or testing may be performed on only particular components, such as fasteners, buttons, zippers, screws, and similar components. If you plan to rely on component testing, be prepared to have your certification "travel" with your components, i.e., be tied to them through documentation.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, recently signed into law, contained a Congressional directive requesting the CPSC to prepare a report for Congress on the problems being encountered in implementing the CPSIA and offering suggested changes. This request is generally thought to indicate a willingness by Congress to authorize changes to the CPSIA. While it is not clear whether those changes will take the form of amendments to the law and/or grants of more discretion to the Commission, this is a hopeful sign that greater clarity will finally come to this highly confusing area of product safety.

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