CPSC Approves New Safety Standard for Bassinets and Cradles

At the end of September 2013, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) approved a newbassinets and cradles safety standard for bassinets and cradles over the objection of Commissioner Nancy Nord. On October 23, 2013, the Final Rule was published in the Federal Register and is effective six (6) months after the publication date in the Federal Register.

The new standard is based on a voluntary industry standard known as ASTM F2194-13, but places stricter requirements on the pass-fail criterion for the so-called “mattress flatness test.” In the mattress flatness test, a cylindrical weight is placed on a seam, and the angle between the weight and the mattress is measured. The voluntary standard allows the test to be performed up to three times, and the results averaged. The new standard, by contrast, does not permit averaging.

In voting against the safety standard, Commissioner Nord urged CPSC to defer to the voluntary standard’s averaging methodology. In her view, it is difficult to know if the proposed criterion is any safer than that already being used in the industry. She stated: “although no concrete evidence has been presented that demonstrates a difference in safety between the two criteria, and that alone is sufficient to convince me that the Commission should adopt ASTM’s criterion, the voluntary standard also strives to address the variability inherent in manufacturing and testing, and that is something the agency equally should strive to address appropriately.”

The new safety standard also imposes a removable bassinet bed stability requirement.
Because of the time required to redesign removable bassinet beds, manufacturers and importers have until eighteen months after the date of publication to comply with the new requirements for removable bassinet beds.

California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has issued two preliminary lists of Chemical of Concern

California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) issued two preliminary lists on Thursday, September chemical_migration_study26thList One identifies hundreds of chemicals that DTSC could eventually deem a Chemical of Concern.  A chemical becomes a Chemical of Concern only when it is the basis for a product being listed as a Priority Product.

List Two, a subset of the first (also known as the “Initial List”), contains approximately 150 chemicals that the agency will focus on within the next six months when deciding which products to list under its Priority Products list.  Among others, the Initial List contains chemicals sometimes found in cosmetic and Over the Counter (OTC) drug products such as: formaldehyde (nail care products, hair products), cyclotetrasiloxane (moisturizers, makeup, hair products), aluminum (anti-perspirants), benzene, lead, silica/silicon dioxide (crystalline, respirable size), dibutyl phthalate (nail care products and hair sprays), parabens (makeup, moisturizers, hair products, and shaving products), diethanolamine, and mineral oils: untreated and mildly treated. On April 1, 2014, or 180 days after the Green Chemistry regulations took effect, the DTSC is required to list up to five (5) Priority Products for public comment based on the chemicals in the aforementioned Initial List.

All consumer products, except for a very specifically exempted few, could potentially be listed as a Priority Product.  This includes anything from hairspray to stereo systems.  However, Debbie Raphael, Director of DTSC, told the Los Angeles Times that the first Priority Products under consideration are: nail polish (tolulene interferes with reproduction); carpet adhesive with formaldehyde; and mercury in fluorescent light bulbs.   For any company selling into the state of California, now is the time to take action, become familiar with the listed chemicals, and pursue alternative, safer product formulations before finding your product on the Priority Product list.

New Federal Safety Standard for Bassinets and Cradles Approved by CPSC

WASHINGTON, D.C. – To prevent deaths and injuries to children, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has approved a new federal mandatory standard to improve the safety of bassinets and cradles.  The vote was 4 to 1. The new federal standard incorporates provisions in the voluntary standard (ASTM F2194-13), Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Bassinets and Cradles. CPSC staff recommended five modifications to F2194-13 standard. These modifications address risks not adequately covered by the voluntary standard. The modifications include:

  1. a clarification of the scope of the bassinet/cradle standard;
  2. a change to the pass/fail criterion for the mattress flatness test;                                          Bassinet
  3. an exemption from the mattress flatness requirement for bassinets that are less than 15 inches across;
  4. the addition of a removable bassinet bed stability requirement; and
  5. a change to the stability test procedure, requiring the use of a newborn CAMI dummy rather than an infant CAMI dummy.

CPSC received notice of 426 incidents involving bassinet/cradles, including 132 fatalities from November 2007 through March 2013. The new standard defines “bassinet/cradle” as a small bed designed primarily to provide sleeping accommodations for infants, supported by free standing legs, a stationary frame or stand, a wheeled base, a rocking base, or swing relative to a stationary base. In a stationary (non-rocking or swinging) position, a bassinet/cradle is intended to have a sleep surface less than or equal to 10 degrees from horizontal. A bassinet/cradle is not intended to be used beyond the age of about 5 months or when a child is able to push up on his hands and knees. Bassinet and cradle attachments for non-full-size cribs or play yards are considered to be part of the bassinet/cradle category, as are bedside sleepers that can be converted to four-sided bassinets not attached to a bed. The effective date for the mandatory bassinet/cradle standard is 6 months after the final rule is published in theFederal Register. Manufacturers are allowed an additional 12 months to comply with the provision for removable bassinet beds.

DTSC releases initial chemical list (candidate chemicals) for the Safer Consumer Products Regulation

Safer Consumer Products RegulationThe California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has released its initial list of candidate chemicals as required under the Safer Consumer Products Regulation. All companies selling products into California will want to review this list and determine if any of their products contain these chemicals.

Under the regulation a candidate chemical is defined as one that exhibits a “hazard trait and/or an environmental or toxicological endpoint” and is either (a) found on one or more of the authoritative lists specified within the regulation or (b) listed by DTSC using the criteria specified within the regulation.

The purpose of the list is to inform stakeholders [manufacturers, importers, assemblers and retailers] about chemicals that may be named as Chemicals of Concern if they are identified as part of a product-chemical combination that is listed as a Priority Product.

All companies selling products containing an identified “chemical of concern” will want to determine which entity in their supply chain has the most information about the chemicals on the list and determine contractually which entity will be responsible for compliance with the data requests, toxicity testing and notification requirements that DTSC will impose under the regulations.

Notes from the Recent CPSC Safety Academy 2013

During the recent CPSC Safety Academy held in Seattle, WA this month, there was a presentation given by Carol Cave, the SafetyAcademy2013Assistant Executive Director (AED) of the Office of Import Surveillance and John Blachere, an International Trade Specialist in the Office of Import Surveillance for the CPSC on how the CPSC reviews shipments at ports.

With the expansion of the tariff codes, the CPSC has the ability to target shipments with either high profile product groups, which may have experienced recalls or manufacturers who may have had problem products in the past.  Based on this system, there were over 2 million shipments that were eligible for examination and out of these only 1,400 (0.070%) were detained with an average detention time of 13.4 days.

The products detained included; Toys (55%), Fireworks (14%), Clothing (9%), Holiday Light Sets (3%), Other Electrical Products (5%) and All Others (14%).  Most of these products entered the United States by Sea (86%) with the other categories being; Rail (2%), Truck (6%) and Air (6%).

Of the 1,400 shipments stopped for examination 77% (1,022) were found to have violations with 61% (622) of those requiring seizure.  These shipments were over the period from October 1, 2011 to September 5, 2013.

Of those violations that required seizure, the number one reason was for lead (34%) followed by a mechanical hazard (15%).  While all of this was interesting, most of this information has been issued throughout the year in CPSC press releases.  What was interesting was that during the QA portion of the presentation a question came up with regard to Children’s Product Certificates.  The question was, how did the CPSC observe company’s complying with the requirement of certificates “accompanying each shipment”?

Carol and John both said that certificates were either physically with the products (in the containers themselves), included with the importation documents submitted by brokers or in a unique URL printed on the invoice, PO or other importation document.

They were then asked if they stopped and seized shipments strictly for not having a certificate for which they responded no.  However,  they did say that beginning in the fiscal year 2014 they will be looking to see if the shipment does have a proper certificate.  This means that even if the shipment has passed the examination for chemical or physical hazard, the shipment can still be help up for a documentation (certificate) violation.

CPSC Safety Academy to be held Sept 18th

CPSC to hold 2nd Annual Safety Academy 

 logo with the words "Product Safety Through Education" The CPSC Safety Academy brings together CPSC staff and stakeholders, including manufacturers, consumer advocates, academic researchers and others to disseminate and share information on product safety topics. These topics include current regulatory requirements, testing and certification of children’s products, the mandatory toy standard, navigating compliance issues, the fast track recall program and others.

 

 

2013 Safety Academy

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is pleased to announce its 2013 Safety Academy. This year, the one-day academy will be held on the West coast in Seattle, Wash.

 

The academy will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 18, 2013, at the Henry M. Jackson Federal Building located at the Seattle Metro Service Center, 915 2nd Avenue, Seattle, Wash. 98174.

 

Agenda

 

CPSC Safety Academy Logistics 

 

Registration is closed; the maximum capacity for attendees has been reached.

 

The Safety Academy offers basic topics in the morning sessions designed for those unfamiliar with the CPSC and the agency’s regulations. Afternoon sessions present more complex topics. Regardless of a person’s level of familiarity with the CPSC, the Safety Academy is an opportunity to ask questions about regulations and procedures, and to meet with specialists and field staff.

 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:  

Marc Schoem

Acting Director, Office of Education, Global Outreach, and Small Business Ombudsman

4330 East West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814

Phone:        301-504-7620

E-mail:       business@cpsc.gov

California’s Safer Consumer Product Regulations

On August 28, 2013, California’s safer consumer product regulations (otherwise known as the “green chemistry rules”) Californias-Green-Chemistry-Initiativewere approved by the Office of Administrative Law and were filed with the Secretary of State; they will take effect on October 1, 2013.

California now has the authority to regulate every ingredient in every product sold in California, with limited exceptions.   At 72 pages, the regulations set out a multi-year, information- and paperwork-intensive process that gets more voluminous and complex with each successive phase of implementation.

Step One [September 2013]

  • An initial list of chemicals (“chemicals of concern”) will be released that will be the basis for regulation and is expected to contain around 230 chemicals.  Any company selling products into California will need to review the list of chemicals against their product’s chemical formulation to determine if their products contain any of these chemicals.
  • If products do contain any of these chemicals, companies will need to begin the process of identifying who within their supply chain will be responsible for compliance requests, toxicity testing and notification under the regulations.
  • These regulations apply to “manufacturers, importers, assemblers, and retailers”

Step Two [Spring 2014]

  • A plan will be published that will identify the products in need of immediate regulation and for the particular product/chemical combination and the “alternatives analysis” to determine if “safer chemicals” could be used.
  • Final selection of priority products is expected to occur no later than October 2014

Step Three [Fall 2014]

  • Once priority products have been identified, companies supplying those products can respond by sending a “Priority Product Notification” indicating that they do not sell a product in California that contains the chemical of concern.
  • A company can send a “Priority Product Notification” indicating that they will remove the product for sale in California (“Product Removal Intent Notification”)
  • A company can send a “Priority Product Notification” indicating that they will remove the chemical of concern from the product (“Chemical Removal Intent Notification”)
  • A company can send a “Priority Product Notification” indicating that they will replace the chemical in the product (“Product-Chemical Replacement Intent Notification”)
  • After the company submits their initial notification they must then submit a second notice indicating that the first action has been completed (“Confirmation Notification”)
  • Within the first 60 days of the “Priority Product Notification” the company can submit a “Alternative Analysis Threshold Notification” which indicates that the chemicals of concern contained within the product are less than the threshold amount.  This notification must include;
    • Name and Contact information of the person submitting the notification
    • Name and Contact information for all manufacturers, importers, assemblers and retailers
    • Certification that the chemical is present in the product only as a contaminate and the concentration does not exceed the PQL threshold and the method used to determine the PQL
    • Source of the chemical in the product
    • All brand names and labeling information for products and if a component the names of all known products in which the component is used
    • Laboratory methodologies, location and quality assurance/quality control protocols used to measure the chemical
    • Attestation for the controls that will be in place to assure that threshold will not be exceeded

Proposed Amendment includes Flame Retardants in Children’s Products

flame retardantProposed amendment, House Bill 2934 (Decrease Unsafe Toxins Act), will amend the CPSIA to ban flame retardant chemicals from use in resilient filling materials in children’s products.

The proposed amendment would require manufacturers of children’s products which contain resilient filling materials, such as high chairs, strollers, infant walkers, booster seats, car seats, changing pads, floor play mats, highchair pads, highchairs, infant swings, bassinets, infant seats, infant bouncers, nursing pads, playards, playpen side pads, infant mattresses, infant mattress pads, and portable hook-on chairs to not contain more than 1,000 ppm of flame retardant chemicals.

Currently, strollers, infant carriers, and nursing pillows have been exempt from California’s Furniture Flammability Standard Technical Bulletin (TB117) since 2010 and the proposed revision of California’s (TB117-2013) includes a provision to exempt 17 more baby and infant products from the standard. This is due to the State agency’s understanding that these products do not present a significant fire hazard.

Since California has been the “de facto standard” for flammability in upholstered products, the bill is seen to bring into harmonization the changes in TB117 and the CPSIA.

Do you have questions about Flame Retardants in your product?

Jacoby Solutions provides consulting services for compliance related issues.

Contact Us Today if you need help in this area!

Making Green Claims with Regards to Your Products

environmental-marketing-claimsDo you make any green claims with your products? Three mattresses firms recently reached a settlement with the FTC and agreed to discontinue unsupported claims that their mattresses where free of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s).  VOC’s are carbon-containing compounds that may be harmful to human health and the environment.  The settlement prohibited the mattresses companies from claiming their products where free of VOC’s without competent and reliable scientific evidence that the mattresses actually contain either zero micrograms per cubic meter or no more than just a trace amount of VOC’s.

Environmental claims about products are becoming more and more prevalent especially with products sold to children under the age of 12 years.  These claims include things like; BPA free, Odor free, 100 percent natural materials, Phthalate free, etc.  These types of Environmental Benefit claims are closely scrutinized by the FTC and must be substantiated by competent and reliable scientific evidence.

When manufacturers and importers say a product is green and “free of” a chemical or substance, the product must not contain the chemical or substance or have only a trace amount.  The “trace amount” test is met if;

  • The level of the chemical or substance is less than that which would be found as an acknowledged trace contaminant or background level
  • The chemical or substance’s presence does not cause material harm that consumers typically associate with it
  • The chemical or substance has not been added intentionally

The FTC’s Green Guides are a valuable resource when analyzing whether a “green claim” is adequately supported.

Do you have questions about your Environmental Benefit claim related your product or packaging?

Jacoby Solutions provides consulting services for compliance related issues.

Contact Us Today if you need help in this area!

Jacoby Solutions Launches CPSIA Ready

Jacoby Solutions has launched CPSIA Ready, a cloud-based software platform and services solution giving manufacturing and importing companies the ability to quickly and effectively comply with all aspects of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA ).

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Kids Today Staff — Kids Today, 8/1/2013

  The product-centric solution was designed with business operations and continuously evolving compliance regulations in mind. CPSIA Ready helps customers embed compliance into      operations so they can easily become and remain compliant across all of the CPSIA ‘s requirements.

Two recent settlement agreements issued by the CPSC require companies to set up an expansive compliance system including: (1) proof of written compliance standards and policies, (2) retention of all compliance-related records for a minimum of five years; (3) assignment of a senior-level compliance manager/officer; (4) a confidential and operational process for employees to be able to report compliance related questions or issues to a compliance manager/officer; and (5) mandatory training on company compliance-related policies and procedures for all applicable employees and stakeholders.
“Compliance is no longer about testing. Companies must ‘exercise due care,’ across many of the CPSC’s mandates,” said Bill Jacoby, principal of Jacoby Solutions. “With CPSIA Ready and our on-line compliance training program, CPSIA U, companies can easily achieve compliance with reduced time, cost and resources. CPSIA Ready also tracks and stores product information, and provides easy due process for employees to achieve mandatory training on various elements of the compliance law.”
CPSIA Ready notifies companies of new compliance regulations and provides manufacturers and importers with a system that enables them to:
• Quickly create and send compliance certificates to retailers/distributors;
• Create and manage test plans by product and manufacturing facility;
• Manage and document material changes within products;
• Centralize storage of test reporting and compliance documentation;
• Provide access to a company compliance portal with an e-learning portal for mandatory training; and
• Reduce documentation storage costs in a tightly secured, cloud-based environment.
Jacoby said flexible pricing programs enable CPSIA Ready to create the exact solution to fit the needs of every organization.