CPSC Delays Lead Testing, Certification Requirements

The Consumer Product Safety Commission did not give the manufacturing community all that it wanted on Friday, but it did grant some of the relief manufacturers sought on Jan. 28. The Feb. 10, 1009, effective date of new lead content requirements set by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 cannot be met, the National Association of Manufacturers wrote Jan. 28 in a letter asking for a delay of at least 185 days. Friday's action by CPSC delayed the effective date of enforcement of testing and certification requirements for lead content (600 ppm) and phthalate content in some products (1,000 ppm), but the new lower content limits weren't affected.

The letter from NAM's Consumer Product Safety Commission Coalition said compliance is "a practical impossibility" for thousands of manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and resellers. "Some real challenges need to be resolved before these new standards go into effect," said Rosario Palmieri, NAM's vice president, infrastructure, legal and regulatory policy. "We are asking for a 185-day delay to give the CPSC adequate time to develop rulemakings for exclusions so that safe products do not have to undergo costly duplicative or unnecessary testing. With so many businesses on the brink of financial ruin, now is not the time to add any unwarranted and costly burdens on job providers."

CPSC said the delay it did grant gives its staff more time to finalize four proposed rules that "could relieve certain materials and products from lead testing and to issue more guidance on when testing is required and how it is to be conducted." The delay does not apply to these:

  • Four requirements for third-party testing and certification of certain children’s products subject to:
  • The ban on lead in paint and other surface coatings effective for products made after Dec. 21, 2008;
  • The standards for full-size and non full-size cribs and pacifiers effective for products made after Jan. 20, 2009;
  • The ban on small parts effective for products made after Feb. 15, 2009;
  • The limits on lead content of metal components of children's jewelry effective for products made after March 23, 2009;
  • Certification requirements applicable to ATVs manufactured after April 13, 2009;
  • Pre-CPSIA testing and certification requirements for automatic residential garage door openers, bike helmets, candles with metal core wicks, lawnmowers, lighters, mattresses, and swimming pool slides; and
  • Pool drain cover requirements of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act.

"The stay of enforcement provides some temporary, limited relief to the crafters, children’s garment manufacturers and toy makers who had been subject to the testing and certification required under the CPSIA. These businesses will not need to issue certificates based on testing of their products until additional decisions are issued by the Commission. However, all businesses, including, but not limited to, handmade toy and apparel makers, crafters and home-based small businesses, must still be sure that their products conform to all safety standards and similar requirements, including the lead and phthalates provisions of the CPSIA," the commission's news release said. "Handmade garment makers are cautioned to know whether the zippers, buttons and other fasteners they are using contain lead. Likewise, handmade toy manufacturers need to know whether their products, if using plastic or soft flexible vinyl, contain phthalates. The stay of enforcement on testing and certification does not address thrift and second hand stores and small retailers because they are not required to test and certify products under the CPSIA. The products they sell, including those in inventory on February 10, 2009, must not contain more than 600 ppm lead in any accessible part."

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