CPSIA FAQ #1: Am I the manufacturer?

I’ve been deluged with emails about the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).  So, I though I would do a series of answers based upon the frequently asked questions I’ve received.  This is first in the series.

Before I start, just keep in mind that this is for general discussion purposes and is not intended as legal advice.  If you have questions about your products or compliance with the CPSIA, you should retain an attorney to advise you. 

CPSIA FAQ #1:  Okay, the number one question I get is how can I be the manufacturer, I just embellish or personalize or add ribbons or add silkscreens or whatever and I buy my materials from some nationally recognized retailer or some iteration of that.

Yes, you are the manufacturer even if  you by blank t-shirts or onesies and “just add to it.”  You must comply with the CPSIA obligations for manufacturers, including certifying for lead content in children’s products for those items manufactured after February 10, 2009. 

Under the Consumer Product Safety Act, the term “manufacturer” means “any person who manufactures or imports a consumer product.”  The term “manufactured” is defined to mean “to manufacture, produce, or assemble.”  So, if you take a blank t-shirt and add rhinestones to sell it, or take a natural unfinished wood toy and paint it to sell, you are the manufacturer.  if you buy fabric from a craft store and sew it to make a dress you then sell, you are the manufacturer.

You are also the “manufacturer” if you are the importer of a finished item.  The importer of a finished foreign produced item has the same responsibilities as the manufacturer of a domestically produced item.

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