In response to significant industry concerns and onerous logistical constraints imposed on the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), the Commission issued a stay of enforcement late Friday, Jan. 31, 2009, delaying enforcement of certain testing and certification requirements for some products.

The stay of enforcement provides limited relief for manufacturers and importers from testing and certification requirements for lead content limits (600 ppm), phthalates limits (1000 ppm) and mandatory toy standards - all of which go into effect on Feb. 10, 2009. Under the stay, which remains in effect until Feb. 10, 2010, manufacturers and importers will not need to test or certify compliance with these new requirements, although they must still comply with the underlying lead and phthalate limits, mandatory toy standards and other requirements imposed by the CPSIA.

Significantly, the stay does not apply to testing, certification or compliance with other key requirements of the CPSIA, including:

  • Four third-party testing and certification requirements covering children's products subject to:
    • The lead paint and surface coatings ban effective Dec. 21, 2008;
    • The baby crib and pacifier standards effective for products made after Jan. 20, 2009;
    • The small parts ban effective for certain children’s products made after Feb. 15, 2009;
    • The lead content limits for children's jewelry that will become effective on March 23, 2009.
  • Certification requirements applicable to ATVs manufactured after April 13, 2009.
  • Testing and certification requirements that pre-date the CPSIA for automatic garage door openers, bicycle helmets, candles with metal core wicks, lawnmowers, lighters, mattresses and swimming pool slides.
  • Pool and spa drain cover requirements under the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act.  

The stay will benefit both large and small manufacturers and importers, and will provide the Commission with additional time to issue rules and other guidance for implementation of the testing and certification requirements for the lead content, phthalate and mandatory toy safety standards

The stay does not relieve manufacturers, importers, distributors or retailers - including thrift and secondhand stores - from core product safety obligations. Stated differently, products sold on or after Feb. 10, 2009, may not contain more than 600 ppm of lead or 1000 ppm of certain phthalates, and must also comply with all other consumer product safety rules, bans and standards in effect at that time.

Finally, the CPSC strongly urged state attorneys general to respect and defer to the Commission's judgment and avoid undertaking any state enforcement activity that could thwart the purpose and rationale for the one-year stay.

For additional information about the CPSIA, click here.