Confusion over the CPSIA – What is covered?

Certain items are also subject to third party testing requirements.  For example, the lead content ban for children’s products must be established by third party testing as of August 12, 2009.  The third party testing requirements are part of CPSIA section 102, but I’m going to discuss the requirements in relation to other sections.

The third part of the CPSIA is a lowering of the limit for lead in paints and coatings from 600 ppm to 90 ppm.  This is effective August 12, 2009.  The limit for lead in paints and coatings applies to paints and other similar surface coatings sold for consumer use in the US, toys and other articles intended for use by children, and certain furniture articles intended for consumer use. This covers everything from chairs and tables to sofas and beds.

The fourth part of the CPISA is a new lead content limit for children’s products. Children’s products are defined as all consumer products intended for use by children. So that means that everything from toys to bedding intended for children to clothing must meet the new lead content limit. In other words, contrary to popular belief, the lead content limit does NOT just cover toys.  I can’t emphasize that enough.

All children’s products manufactured after February 10, 2009 must meet a lead content limit of 600 ppm, and the domestic manufacturer or the importer must issue GCCs based upon testing or a reasonable testing product.  With respect to the “reasonable testing” program for the lead content limit, the CPSC has said that XRF technology can be used.  So, small plug, I do that and will do it by mail so email me if you are interested.

The critical point is that for products in commerce as of February 10, 2009, the CPSC General Counsel has issued an opinion that such children’s products that do NOT meet the 600 ppm lead content limit are considered “banned hazardous substances” and CANNOT be legally sold in the US. I’ve got more on the lead content ban.

Another critical part of the CPSIA is the phthalate ban.  Effective February 10, 2009, certain phthalates are banned in children’s toys and child care articles.  A children’s toy is a product intended for a child under 12 years of age for playing.  A child care article is a product intended for a child under 3 years of age that facilitates sleeping or eating. In other words, if the product is used for sleeping, feeding, sucking or teething, then the phthalate ban applies. The CPSC has stated that the phthalate ban applies to pacifiers, teethers, bibs, crib mattresses, crib sheets and pajamas.

The good news is that this part of the law does NOT apply to existing inventory – only items manufactured after February 10, 2009.  The bad news is that there isn’t a easy technology to use for screening goods for phthalates like XRF for lead.

Finally, CPSIA section 104 relates to durable nursery products.  This requires the CPSC to develop safety standards for durable nursery products such as toddler beds and high chairs.  Just because you are covered by this section does NOT mean you get out of the other sections. Similarly, just because crib sheets are durable nursery goods and are exempted from Section 104 does NOT mean you are exempted from the other requirements.

Okay, there is more to the law, including tracking labels.  But you are probably bored to death by now.

Lots of people are talking about the CPSIA and seeking reform. Be part of the solution.

Disclaimer – None of the foregoing is intended as legal advice. To determine whether the law applies to your particular products, I urge you to consult an attorney.

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