In a 3-2 vote taken on October 9, 2011, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) passed final regulations requiring third-party safety testing for children's products. Under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (“CPSIA”) a “children’s product” is defined as a consumer product designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger. A copy of the CPSC staff report can be found here.
The regulatory framework created by these rules requires manufacturers, importers and private labelers to have toys and other children's products regularly tested and certified as CPSC-compliant by a third party. One of the rules will require these parties to have toys and other products retested after any “material change” is made to the product. Such changes include design changes, alterations to the manufacturing process or new sources for component parts. After retesting, the products can be recertified as CPSC-compliant. These parties will also be required to keep records on the testing and certification of children's products. The rule goes into effect 15 months after publication in the Federal Register. A second rule allows companies to use the testing done by a supplier to certify their products. That rule will go into effect 30 days after publication.
Children’s products certified as compliant can use the voluntary label “Meets CPSC Safety Requirements.”
While some testing on certain products such as cribs, jewelry and toys with small parts, is already required by the CPSIA, these new rules will greatly expand testing. Consumer advocacy groups were thrilled by the CPSC vote. Many business groups, however, asserted the rules will be expensive, kill jobs and are an abuse of government power.
Also on Wednesday, the commission voted to publish a proposed rule that would require companies to test a representative sample of their product, and to seek public comment on how to reduce the cost of third-party testing requirements.