Monday, 2 February 2009

CPSIA - update

The CPSC has issued a one-year stay of enforcement on the testing and certification requirements mandated by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) for some products covered by the law, including children’s products. Manufacturers and importers will not need to test or certify these products, but are still required to meet the new lead and phthalates standards.

This is a positive development for companies that were struggling with the complex certification rules. CPSC Commissioner Thomas H. Moore recognized that “Many of the smaller businesses do have legitimate concerns about how they will comply with the new law and the cost of the new testing and certification requirements.”

The stay is in response to the growing chorus of voices of business owners concerned that the rules are unclear, confusing, and economically untenable. Additionally the decision gives CPSC staff more time to finalize four proposed rules which could relieve certain materials and products from lead testing and to issue more guidance on when testing is required and how it is to be conducted.

This is a reprieve from testing and certification for some products; it does not apply to the requirement for expensive third party testing for lead in paint and other surface coatings, cribs and pacifiers, painted products, and products for children under three that may have small parts. Nevertheless, the stay puts the entire industry in the same situation as thrift stores across the country, in that the CPSC has removed the requirement of testing but is holding them to the new standard under the threat of civil and criminal penalties.

Hopefully the continued lobbying will bring forth changes before the stay ends next year.

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