CPSC Extends CPSIA Stay for Lead, Phthalates and More; Lifts Stay for Other

Update 12/17/09 – Well, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) posted the documents discussed in this blog post prematurely, apparently. As discussed by Rick Woldenberg much better than I could ever say, things have changed – and the policy released and discussed below is no longer available on the CPSC’s website. Apparently, the document did not reflect what the CPSC had agreed to do.

Okay, if the CPSC can’t get it right, how exactly are manufacturers supposed to comply? In any event, I will provide an update when I can. I’m leaving the old post below . . . .

On December 15, 2009, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued two different policies related to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) which are a tad confusing but offer substantial relief to manufacturers and importers. If you are new to the CPSIA, then you may want to persue some of my earlier posts.

The first involves the CPSC’s decision to revise the stay of enforcement of certain testing and certification requirements. Remember, on February 9, 2009, the CPSC announced a stay of certain testing and certification requirements under the CPSIA until February 10, 2010. Under the Consumer Product Safety Act, as amended by the CPSIA, a manufacturer of a product that is subject to a consumer product safety rule under the CPSA or similar rule enforced by the CPSC must issue a certificate of compliance. Basically, the manufacturer is required to certify that the product complies with all rules, etc. Some categories of products such as children’s products were required to have certificates based upon third party accredited testing. But, for a variety of reasons, the CPSC stayed the testing and certification requirement so while products still had to meet the requirements, the testing and certification part was stayed, except for lead in paints and coatings, lead in metal children’s jewelry, cribs, pacifiers and small parts. So, for example, while children’s toys (without paint) must meet the current limit of 300 parts per million (ppm) lead in any component, a manufacturer is currently not required to have accredited third party testing to establish compliance.

But, the end of the stay was fast approaching, and the CPSC is behind on promulgating requirements for some categories. For other categories, the CPSC has issued requirements. So, the Consumer Product Safety Act: Notice of Commission Action on the Stay of Enforcement and Testing and Certification Requirements lifts the stay for some categories and extends the stay for others.

So, for bicycle helmets, dive sticks and similar articles, rattles, and bunk beads, the stay will be lifted on February 10, 2010, and those products will be subject to the specified testing and certification requirements for those manufactured after February 10, 2010.

For bicycles, the stay is extended until August 10, 2010 because of insufficient laboratory capacity for third party testing.

For lead content in children’s products (other than lead in metal children’s jewelry and lead in paints and coatings used on children’s products), the CPSC has extended the stay until August 10, 2010. This is welcome relief for many manufacturers. The CPSC indicates that it is extending the stay to allow component testing and to complete a rule on what constitutes a children’s product under the CPSIA. So, this means that until August 10, 2010, in accordance with the procedures the CPSC has published, manufacturers and importers can continue to use XRF technology, for example, to determine compliance with the 300 ppm total lead content limit.

Most importantly, the CPSC is continuing the stay until further notice for phthalates. Remember, in sum, certain phthalates are limited to 1,000 ppm in children’s toys and in child care articles. The term child care article is defined as a product intended for children under the age of 3  year that facilitates sleeping or eating. This is welcome news as no laboratories are CPSIA third party accredited for phthalate testing.

The CPSC is continuing the stay of testing and certification also for the requirement that children’s toys meet the ASTM F963 standard. So, toys manufactured must still meet the standard, but a manufacturer does not have to certify using third party testing.

The CPSC also issued an Interim Enforcement Policy on Component Testing amd Certifications of Children’s Products and Other Consumer Products to the August 14, 2009 Lead Limits. The August 14, 2009 lead limits are the revised lead limits for lead in paint in coatings, which dropped from 600 ppm to 90 ppm, and the total lead content limit, which dropped from 600 ppm to 300 ppm. I’ll talk about it more later.

TheSmartMama – CPSIA Solutions – XRF Testing for Lead Content CPSIA Compliance

Okay, so this is a service pitch.  Just skip it if you are not in the market for lead content testing. 

As you know, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008 set mandatory lead content standards for all children’s products sold or distributed for sale in the United States, among other requirements. While the testing and certification requirements are stayed, you still cannot distribute in commerce any children’s product, or any part of a children’s product, that exceeds 600 parts per million (ppm) lead. That level drops to 300 ppm. 

Trying to figure out whether your products comply?  TheSmartMama provides x-ray fluorescence (XRF) screenings for lead content to support certification claims for CPSIA compliance.  I can provide handheld XRF screenings in my facility (you mail the product) or onsite at your location – whether it be your sales showroom, your warehouse or your store.   

XRF testing is non destructive and is relatively quick.  Components identified with levels of lead potentially of concern can be further tested for lead content, or can be replaced.  The XRF testing is recognized by the CPSC for lead content testing.  Please note that lead in metal children’s jewelry and lead in paints and coatings must be tested using 3rd party accredited testing.  Also, XRF screening cannot identify phthalates.