CPSC Small Business Ombudsman – 11/21/2011
Dear CPSC Small Business Community:
As you may know, on January 1, 2012, manufacturers and importers of children’s products will be required—for the first time under federal law—to third party test and certify their children’s products for compliance with the limit on total lead content in children’s products. Manufacturers and importers will also be required to third party test and certify that toys and certain child care articles are compliant with the federal toy safety standard and the ban on certain phthalates. We are reaching out, in the spirit of partnership, to provide you with new and updated education and guidance materials (described below) to ease the transition for affected businesses as the stays of enforcement expire for these regulations. We want to work with you to ensure that you are familiar with these new requirements and to address your concerns.
Toy Safety Standard & the Ban on Phthalates
Recently, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (the “Commission”) announced the development of a strategic outreach and education plan to help the business community and other stakeholders learn about the third party testing and certification requirements that will go into effect on January 1, 2012, for children’s toys and toy chests manufactured after December 31, 2011. For more information on the toy safety standard, please see our website at: www.cpsc.gov/toysafety. Also, while you are visiting our website, please review our strategic outreach and education plan in the upper right hand corner of the page, and provide us with additional ideas and feedback about our plan.
Third party testing and certification requirements will also go into effect for the ban on certain phthalates for children’s toys and certain child care articles manufactured after December 31, 2011. For more information about the ban on phthalates in toys and certain child care articles, please see our website at: www.cpsc.gov/phthalates.
Total Lead Limits in Children’s Products
January 1, 2012 also represents the date on which the Commission will begin to enforce the third party testing and certification requirements for the total lead limit of 100 parts per million in accessible parts of children’s products. Unlike the toy and phthalate requirements, this requirement is for children’s products manufactured after August 14, 2011. For more information about the total lead limits in children’s products, please see our website at: www.cpsc.gov/lead.
Certification and Third Party Testing
For all children’s products safety rules, certification and third party testing are generally required. Certification means that manufacturers and importers of children’s products must issue a written Children’s Product Certificate (CPC) for each product, which identifies the product, the rule or standard with which it must comply, the third party laboratory where it was tested, and other requirements. Certification must be based upon the results of third party testing, which means testing performed by a third party, accredited laboratory that the Commission has accepted to perform the specific tests associated with each children’s product safety rule. For more details about what third party testing and certification means for your business, and for links to our list of accepted laboratories and sample certificates, please see our website at: www.cpsc.gov/3PT and www.cpsc.gov/labsearch.
Small Batch Manufacturers
In certain situations, qualifying small batch manufacturers may not be required to third party test their children’s products in order to certify compliance with one particular group of children’s product safety rules. It depends on the children’s product and the materials used to manufacture that children’s product. Specific information on third party testing requirements for small batch manufacturers is available at www.cpsc.gov/smallbatch.
Sign-Up for Updates
For future updates on this and other regulatory issues that may affect you, consider signing up for one of our e-mail services. We have also just created an account on Twitter (@CPSCSmallBiz) and you can choose to follow us on Twitter for regular updates. The Small Business Ombudsman’s e-mail service sign-up form is at www.cpsc.gov/sbo on the upper right hand side of that Web page. And, at www.cpsc.gov/lists.html, you will also find a sign-up form for other useful Commission e-mail services of interest. Of course, if you have additional questions about these requirements, you may always contact me at www.cpsc.gov/sbo by clicking on the “Contact Form” on the upper right hand side of that Web page for the fastest response.
Please do not wait to take the necessary actions to ensure that your products comply and are properly third party tested and certified on January 1, 2012.
I hope that we can work together to ensure a robust compliance rate with these new requirements in order to protect consumers better and to ensure that businesses have a level playing field in providing safe and compliant consumer products to the American consumer.
Neal S. Cohen
Small Business Ombudsman
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission