On January 29, 2009, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) responded to thousands of complaints from manufacturers and importers of consumer goods and children's products, many of whom have been struggling to comply with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 since it became effective in August 2008.
Specifically, the CPSC announced that it will stay enforcement of the Act's testing and certification requirements applicable to consumer goods and children's products for one year, until February 10, 2010. Explaining that it has received, but has been unable to address, "literally thousands of e-mails, telephone and written inquiries" from manufacturers and importers questioning the Act's testing and certification requirements, the CPSC ruled that it will not enforce the Act's testing and certification requirements for the vast majority of products covered by the Act. The CPSC, however, excluded from the stay (and will continue to enforce) the Act's testing and certification requirements for the ban on lead in paint and other surface coatings, the standards for full-size and non full-size cribs and pacifiers, and the limits on lead content of metal components of children’s jewelry, among other things.
While most testing and certification required by the Act will not be enforced until February 10, 2010, consumer goods and children's products nevertheless must comply with the underlying rules, bans, standards and regulations enforced by the CPSC. Manufacturers and importers "will not need to test or certify to [the Act's] new requirements, but will need to meet the lead and phthalates limits, mandatory toy standards and other requirements.” And, if a product violates the Act or other consumer products regulations, the CPSC can still levy civil and criminal penalties.]
Several certification standards remain intact despite the stay, including any certification standard enacted before the CPSIA's passage, the Act's ATV certification standards, certification under the new Pool and Spa Act Standard, and certification to voluntary guarantees under the Flammable Fabrics Act.
Though the CPSC's one-year stay provides some relief, manufacturers and importers should take care to (1) confirm that all products comply with the Act's underlying restrictions and other consumer product safety standards, and (2) determine whether the product falls within a class exempted from the stay.
For a summary of the Act's requirements, see the below reference materials:
- "How to Survive the New Labeling Law", Indianapolis Business Journal
- "The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 — Reaction or Overreatction?", Indiana Manufacturers Association Executive Memo
- CPSC Certification and Third Party Testing Requirements
- CPSC Certification