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Happy Anniversary, CPSIA!

July 27, 2009

On August 14, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act will reach the one-year anniversary of its enactment.  There are several provisions that become effective on that date, and the CPSC has issued several updates this month in preparation.


The Lead Content Limit decreases from 600 to 300 ppm as of August 14.  Children’s product exceeding the 300 ppm limit cannot be sold after this date.  We have been testing most products to this new limit since the beginning of the year in anticipation of the change.  


Lead Content Limit applies to all accessible substrate materials used on children’s products, and CPSC has defined material accessibility as:

·                    Material which can be accessed with use of ”finger probe.”

·                    Material which can be accessed either before (“as received”) or after use and abuse testing.

·                    Use and abuse testing are the standard tests per 16 CFR 1500.51, .52, or .53 depending on appropriate age of product.

·                    The use and abuse tests of 16 CFR 1500.53 has been extended from the current 96 month (8 year) age limit up to CPSIA’s 12 year age limit.  This is a major change as 8+ products had not previously been subjected to the use and abuse testing in 16 CFR!

·                    Paint and electroplating do Not make substrate material inaccessible.

·                    Fabric Does make substrate material inaccessible, provided the fabric covering withstands the use and abuse testing mentioned above.


In July, CPSC provided a stay of enforcement for lead content on certain parts of bicycles and strollers but  declined to exempt crystal and glass beads used in children’s products from lead content compliance. 


Let’s not forget that the Lead in Paint limit also decreases from 600 to 90 ppm on August 14.  As with the lead content testing, we have been using the 90 ppm limit essentially since the beginning of the year for most products.  We have found that paint either contains a lot of lead – well in excess of 600 ppm – or has minimal lead – well below the 90 ppm limit.  Our testing has not found many paints between the 90 and 600 ppm limits.


Tracking Labels have been a “hot topic” in the past few months since all children’s products manufactured as of August 14 must include appropriate traceability information.  This requirement is not retroactive and does not affect product in inventory (unlike the lead and phthalate requirements).  CPSC has not provided a required format, location, size, or wording…in large part because products are so different and one size does not fit all.  But all children’s products must include permanent distinguishing marks that allow the manufacturer to ascertain location and date of production, and any other cohort information that would assist with a recall.  CPSC has provided useful FAQ’s regarding tracking labels on their website,, including considerations for hand-crafted goods, marking of products in a set, and use of a website address.  And remember that the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (16 CFR 500.5) already requires name and place of business of manufacturer, packer or distributor.


Other changes on August 14 include the maximum civil penalty for CPSIA violations increasing from $1.8 million to $15 million, and technical amendments to the Pool and Spa Safety Act. 


On August 17, ASTM F963-08 becomes a mandatory consumer product safety rule (excluding flammability and omission of toy chest requirement).  ASTM F963-07 (excluding flammability) became mandatory in February 2009, and many companies started testing to the -08 version upon its publication (also in February).  CPSIA mandates CPSC to examine and assess, in consultation with consumer groups and industry experts, the effectiveness of the ASTM F963 standard, and has requested public comments by August 20.  This is a great opportunity to express your views about the toy safety standard, and those of us on the ASTM committee will be interested as well!


CPSC has also requested public comments for “Requirements for Consumer Registration of Durable Infant or Toddler Products” and comments are due by September 14, 2009.  Comments are requested on all aspects of the CPSC proposal for these registration cards.


And there are many more changes forthcoming.  CPSC will be providing parameters of a reasonable test program and voluntary product certification program, risk assessment methodology, substantial product hazard listing, and a public product safety database – something that the new CPSC Chairman, Inez Tenenbaum, has advised is one of her three major areas of focus.