Regulators Grant Partial CPSIA Reprieve
(Source: January/February 2010)

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has voted to delay the enforcement of certain third-party testing rules related to items used by children until February 2011, a postponement of one full year. The decision means manufacturers won't be required by law to hold compliance certificates showing their products have been independently verified as safe. "The extension of the stay was needed in order to give the agency more time to promulgate rules important to the continued implementation of the CPSIA and for the agency to educate our stakeholders on the requirements of those new rules," wrote CPSC Chair Inez Tenenbaum, in a statement.

The rules, outlined as part of the controversial Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA), were originally intended to go into effect in February 2009, but the enforcement has been delayed twice – once until February 2010, and now another year to February 2011. Legislation has called for the independent verification of products to take place at a lab recognized by the CPSC, creating concerns over costs. The CPSIA applies to all products that may be used by children who are 12-years-old and under.

While the decision grants a reprieve for third-party certification, it does not provide a blanket stay for lead-related testing. For example, bicycle helmets, bunk beds and infant rattles must still be independently tested starting on February 10, 2010. Among other provisions, the CPSIA limits lead content in children's products to 300 parts per million (ppm), down from 600 ppm. However, the CPSC has not specifically defined what items are subject to the rules or how often companies will have to test their products for lead, lead paint or phthalates.

Despite the uncertainty, toy makers did gain a victory when the CPSC recently decided manufacturers wouldn't be responsible for testing individual parts of children's products, like buttons or zippers. Previously, the entire finished item would have to be tested. Passed by Congress in 2008, the CPSIA applies to a broad range of items, including apparel, toys, books and sports gear. For a detailed listing of provisions, visit:

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