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Bill To Amend CPSIA Becomes Law
Vol. 843 
August 18, 2011

Nearly three years after Congress passed the original Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), President Obama has signed a separate bill modifying the controversial legislation. The amendments to the law, recently passed almost unanimously by the U.S. House and Senate, expand the discretion of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), allowing regulators greater flexibility in directing third-party testing standards.

The amendments specifically address several enforcement questions that have lingered since 2008, clarifying product exemptions and the responsibilities of manufacturers. In effect, the new law narrows the CPSIA’s lead-testing requirements to products manufactured since the date of enactment, creates certain exceptions for small-batch manufacturers (annual revenues under $1 million) and removes lead limits for used children’s products. As part of the changes to the CPSIA, the CPSC must also seek public comment on ways to reduce the burden and cost of third-party testing.

On the topic of tracking labels, the CPSC now has authority to exclude specific products from previous mandates. If the commission determines that placing a tracking label on an item is not practical, a manufacturer will earn an exemption. The legislation also seeks to ease some manufacturers’ concerns about the CPSIA database, which allows virtually anyone to post complaints about a product. The CPSC is now required to stay publication for five extra days when it receives notice of materially inaccurate information. The CPSC must also attempt to get a serial number or a photo of an item from the consumer questioning the safety of a product. 

The amendments, while providing more authority to the CPSC in determining testing requirements, have not changed the action schedule regarding lead limits. The amount of lead allowable in children's products dropped from 300 parts per million (ppm) to 100 ppm on August 14, but only products that are manufactured after this date will have to adhere to the stricter limits. The mandate applies to all manufacturers, importers, retailers and distributors of children's products

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