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CPSC Issues New Rule on Third-Party Testing and Certification

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on Wednesday issued a direct final rule clarifying two previous regulations regarding when component part testing can be used and which textile products have been determined not to exceed the allowable lead content limits.

The new rule, effective as of December 14 unless “significant adverse comment” is received by November 13, relates to Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) regulations that allow parties to test and certify component parts of products under certain circumstances and determine that certain materials or products do not require lead content testing.

The CPSC states that this rule has been misinterpreted by stakeholders as excluding the option of component part testing for other products and requirements that are not explicitly specified, which are paint, lead content of children’s products and phthalates in children’s toys and childcare articles.

The commission has now clarified that manufacturers are free to use component part testing in addition to those circumstances.

The amendment also updates two other provisions in the component part rule, referencing a newer version of the mandatory toy standard, ASTM F963-11, and adding a reference to the guidance concerning inaccessible component parts to make the provision concerning phthalates consistent with the provision concerning lead. This will help certifiers understand which components are inaccessible and do not need to be tested for phthalate content.

Lead content limits

In addition, the CPSC determined by rule that certain products and materials inherently do not contain lead at levels that exceed the lead content limits in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) so long as those materials have not been treated or mixed with materials that could add lead.

This determination applies to textiles (excluding such after-treatment applications as screen prints, transfers, decals or other prints) consisting of various fibers.

Owing to confusion expressed by the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) that the phrase “other prints” can be misinterpreted to exclude items that are dyed (and lead free) “because of the technique used to apply colorant” and has resulted in a “significant amount of unnecessary testing,” the commission is amending the provision to clarify that dyed textiles, regardless of the techniques used to produce such materials and apply such colorants, are not subject to required testing for lead in paint or for total lead content.