The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is giving some manufacturers and importers of adult clothing a break: eliminating the requirement that they issue certificates of compliance for fabrics that have already been determined to meet applicable flammability standards.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) requires a manufacturer or importer of adult clothing to certify that its products comply with flammability standards under the Flammable Fabrics Act. In the existing flammability standard, the CPSC had already determined, after many years of testing, that clothing made from certain materials consistently meets the standard. Last week, the CPSC decided to exercise its enforcement discretion to exempt manufacturers and importers of those fabrics from the requirement that they attach certificates of compliance to the already compliant adult clothing. One Commissioner estimated that this step alone will save roughly $250 million a year in certificate preparation costs.

The CPSC’s new enforcement policy removes the requirement to issue a General Certificate of Conformity (GCC) for adult apparel made from:

  • Plain surface fabrics, regardless of fiber content, weighing 2.6 ounces per square yard or more
  • All fabrics, both plain surface and raised-fiber surface textiles, regardless of weight, made entirely from any of the following fibers or entirely from combination of the following fibers: acrylic, modacrylic, nylon, olefin, polyester, wool

The enforcement statement makes clear the CPSC will no longer pursue enforcement action against manufacturers and importers for failure to certify adult clothing subject to the new policy. (Certain hats, gloves, footwear and interlining fabrics already do not require testing or certification and are not impacted by the CPSC’s exercise of enforcement discretion as a result.)

The CPSC cautions that, other than the new enforcement policy exempting certain fabrics, flammability standards will be applied strictly and, further, if it appears any of the exempted products turn out to raise flammability concerns, the Commission will reinstate its certification requirements after an adequate warning period. Moreover, the CPSC reiterates that fabrics now exempt from both testing and certification as a result of the new enforcement policy must still comply with the flammability standard.

The enforcement policy is effective Friday, March 25.