The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has narrowly approved new third-party testing requirements for children’s products. The rules call for domestic manufacturers, importers and private labelers to adhere to a regulatory framework for independent testing to ensure that children’s products continue to comply with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA).

Once published in the Federal Register, the rules, which will take effect 15 months thereafter, stipulate that if a children’s product undergoes a material change, such as in its design, manufacturing process or in its component parts source, affected firms must retest and recertify that the product complies with federal safety standards. Products complying with the law may feature a voluntary “Meets CPSC Safety Requirements” label.

CPSC also narrowly approved a rule that, 30 days after publication, will allow firms to rely on the component part and finished product testing conducted by their suppliers to meet the testing and certification requirements. According to CPSC, the regulation aims to reduce the regulatory burden on affected companies that are already required to perform initial testing on some products, including those with lead in the paint and those with small parts, and full size and non-full size cribs, pacifiers, and children’s metal jewelry. “The new rules will require firms to go beyond initial testing to ensure that their products continue to meet safety standards,” CPSC noted. “All domestic manufactures, importers and private labelers of children’s products will be required to test the products periodically to ensure continued compliance with federal safety standards.”

In a related matter, CPSC unanimously voted to publish a proposed rule that would require affected firms to periodically test representative product samples. It also unanimously approved a measure allowing the agency to seek public comment on how to reduce the costs of third-party testing.

In a prepared statement, CPSC Chair Inez Tenenbaum and Commissioners Robert Adler and Thomas Moore, voting in the majority, called the new third-party testing rule the “capstone” of CPSIA and a move that “parents and grandparents have waited years to happen.” Meanwhile, Commissioner Nancy Nord issued a statement criticizing the third-party and component regulations. Characterizing the regime as “overreaching” and a cost burden that will be passed onto to consumer, Nord said, “The majority did this without demonstrating safety gains that justify these extraordinary costs.” See CPSC News Release, October 20, 2011.