On February 8, 2013, new requirements pertaining to product testing and certification for children’s products go into effect. These rules include, among other things, the following requirements:
- Periodic Testing of Children’s Products. Such testing must be performed on a periodic basis by third-party testing laboratories approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The required interval for testing is one to three years, depending on whether the manufacturer has a periodic testing plan, has a production testing plan, or conducts continued testing using an appropriately accredited laboratory. However, if a product undergoes a “material change,” the product must be retested sooner.
- Representative Samples. Manufacturers, importers, and private labelers must provide a sufficient number of representative samples of the children’s products to the third-party testing laboratory.
- Documentation. Documentation of such testing (including the sampling procedures and the basis for inferring compliance during the periodic-testing interval) must be retained for at least five years.
- Safeguard Against Undue Influence. Manufacturers must establish procedures to safeguard against the exercise of undue influence by the manufacturer on third-party testing laboratories.
These changes are intended to implement section 102(b) of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), which was enacted in 2008. The CPSIA, which is enforced by the CPSC, amends the Consumer Product Safety Act by, among other things, setting new testing and certification requirements for many products. For example, the CPSIA:
- Imposes restrictive limits on the amount of lead and phthalates permitted in children’s products
- Requires manufacturers and importers of nearly all children’s products to certify, based upon testing performed by a CPSC-approved third-party laboratory, that their products comply with applicable safety rules
- Requires all children’s products to contain permanent tracking labels on the product and packaging
- Requires manufacturers and importers of non-children’s products that have applicable consumer product safety rules to certify that their products comply with those rules, based on a reasonable testing program