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Government Adopts CPSIA Testing Standards
Vol. 863 
October 27, 2011

Following three years of lobbying, hearings and uneven interpretations, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has formally voted to enact and enforce full provisions of the 2008 Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). The new rules require manufacturers, importers and private labelers to test children's products for specific compliance with safety standards. "The final third-party rules we adopted will fulfill the promise that Congress made to parents through the passage of CPSIA and the promise that the CPSC made to children when it initiated these third-party testing related rulemakings," said the CPSC in a statement.

According to the final mandated standards, companies must not only certify compliance but must also conduct occasional follow-up tests to ensure children's items are safe. Whenever a material-based change to a product is made, re-testing is mandatory. The final requirements force manufacturers to test for lead and lead paint in product materials as well as potential choking hazards. Products for toddlers are under especially close scrutiny, particularly cribs and strollers.

Although testing standards are strict, certain requirements have been eased to improve practicality and reduce costs. For example, in a move considered a win for manufacturers, the CPSC also voted unanimously last week to allow companies to use product samples for periodic testing. These samples would be considered representative of all products manufactured or imported since the last certification test. The alternative would be random testing.

Under the latest provisions, children's products continue to be defined as items intended for use by kids age 12 and under. Companies that achieve certification have the option to note their compliance on a product's label. The adopted testing rules will go into effect 15 months after they appear in the Federal Register.

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