The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has proposed two new rules to improve testing and labeling standards for consumer products, including those for children. Comments on both proposals are requested by August 3, 2010.

The commission’s notice of proposed rulemaking would require manufacturers of toys and other products to test individual components to ensure they are safe and comply with the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA). The rule would require manufacturers or private labelers to issue a “Children’s Product Certificate” showing that the product complies with each applicable safety rule.

Other proposed requirements include (i) “that finished product certifiers may not rely on component part testing conducted by another unless such component parts are traceable”; (ii) that testing parties who are not themselves certifying a component part provide to the “component part certifier” a description of the component part tested, the lot or batch number for which testing applies, and the “applicable rules, bans, standards, and regulations” for each component part tested; and (iii) the results of each test on a component part.

CPSC invites comments on whether finished product certifiers should be permitted to rely on other types of certifications in addition to component part certifications from third parties and whether a provision should be modified allowing a product importer to rely on a “subordinate” certificate from a foreign manufacturer stating that the finished product complies with safe standards.

The other proposed rule would establish CPSC’s requirements for a “reasonable testing program and for compliance and continuing testing for children’s products” under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), as well as how consumer products should be labeled to show they comply with the agency’s certification requirements.

Noting that “the Commission understands the economic ramifications that small businesses (and even large businesses) face regarding the testing costs” required under CPSIA, CPSC states that it “wants to emphasize to retailers and sellers of children’s products that they can rely on certificates provided by product suppliers if those certificates are based on testing conducted by a third party conformity assessment body.”

According to the rule, labels should indicate that the products comply with product safety rules under CPSA and with any safety requirements in other acts enforced by CPSC. See Federal Register, May 20, 2010.