Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA)
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In August 2008, Congress passed H.R. 4040, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). The CPSIA grants the Consumer Product Safety Commission additional powers and funding to police unsafe products. It was developed in response to widespread recalls of children’s toys and jewelry containing lead.
The law radically changed the way that consumer products are manufactured, particularly children’s products, and presented a number of obstacles for furniture manufacturers. Five specific provisions contain requirements impacting residential furniture:
Lead and Phthalates
Section 101 of the CPSIA bans any accessible part of a children’s product that contains lead in excess of 100 ppm as of August 2011. This same provision reduces the level of lead allowed in paint and surface coatings of all household furniture – not just youth furniture – from 600 ppm to 90 ppm.
Section 108 of the CPSIA bans three specific phthalates from children’s products on a permanent basis. For the furniture industry, this means that the plastic parts on cribs, toddler beds and mattresses cannot contain any phthalates.
General Conformity Certificates
Section 14 of the CPSIA requires that manufacturers and importers of products that are subject to any mandatory standard or regulation must provide retailers with a “certificate of conformity” indicating the product meets those mandatory standards. These certificates of conformity must be based on a “reasonable testing program.” This term is not defined by Congress or CPSC, and reasonable testing varies by the type of product, the hazard involved and the volume of production.
Specific mandatory standards applicable to furniture include:
16 CFR 1303 – Lead limits for paint and surface coatings (applies to all furniture)
CPSIA 101(a) – Lead and phthalate limits in children’s products
16 CFR 1213 and 1513 – Federal bunk bed regulations
16 CFR 1508 and 1509 – Federal crib standards
This list is not exhaustive. Search all mandatory standards and regulations below.
Certificates are not required for ASTM or other voluntary consensus standards such as the furniture tip-over standard.
The presentation below discusses recommended testing regimens.
General Conformity Certificates-Mandatory Third Party Testing
November 18, 2008
Third Party Testing
Products intended primarily for use by children 12 and under are subject to a more stringent requirement for third-party testing by an outside lab that is accredited by the CPSC.
In practice, this means that a product such as wood bunk beds sold for use by children must undergo third-party testing for both the lead content of finishing materials in 16 CFR 1303, and the head and neck entrapment specifications of 16 CFR 1213.
CPSC has posted the names of accredited testing labs on its website (www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/labaccred.html), and continues to add new labs as they qualify. Note that under the CPSIA, the in-house labs of suppliers such as coatings producers can obtain third-party accreditation by setting up mechanisms to protect their test results from influence by corporate management.
Tracking Labels for Children’s Products
Products intended primarily for children 12 and younger are also subject to a separate requirement for “tracking labels” designed to help consumers identify the source of children’s products and to assist CPSC in conducting recalls if they become necessary.
Beginning in August 2009, items such as cribs and youth bedroom furniture required a permanent label or marking listing basic information, including the manufacturer of the product, the location and date of manufacture, and the batch or run number (however the manufacturer tracks production runs).
The labels must be “permanent,” meaning that adhesive labels or hangtags are not sufficient. Congress specifically referred to “marks,” which may include numerical codes on file with the Commission. This would allow companies to shield proprietary business information, such as the identity of foreign partners, from casual inspection by competitors.
One final provision within the CPSIA that impacted home furnishings companies was the requirement that CPSC develop a searchable database that would make it easier for consumers to research complaints on specific products. Called SaferProducts.gov, the website was launched in the spring of 2011. The site allows individuals or groups to file a “report of harm” about a product. CPSC must post the complaints in the public database within 15 days of receiving them. The complaints are searchable both by product type and by manufacturer.
Shortly after its launch, the site presented several challenges for home furnishings manufacturers. First, the person filing the complaint does not have to actually own or have used the product. The site allows complaints against manufacturers for products they no longer produce, and also permits complaints about products that the consumer purchased secondhand, without knowledge of how that product was used (or misused) by any previous owners.
Manufacturers have been urged to register with the CPSC so they receive prompt notification if a complaint is filed against them. Although they cannot prevent the complaint from being posted in the public database – even if they suspect the information in the complaint is materially incorrect – they are able to have their response to the complaint posted.
This section includes links to the most recent regulatory activity related to the CPSIA.
A workshop on the proposed rule is slated September 18, 2014. Written comments must be received by October 31, 2014.
Links to regulatory alerts sent by AHFA to member companies on CPSIA compliance issues are provided here.» Some Fabrics Should Be Tested for Lead
(Members only; log in to access.)June 2014 » Congress Passes CPSIA Reform Bill
(Members only; log in to access.)August 2011 » CPSC Now Enforcing New Requirements: Manufacturers of Cribs, Youth Bedroom Furniture Are Among Those Who Must Comply
(Members only; log in to access.)August 2009
This section includes links to documents that help AHFA member companies meet CPSIA compliance challenges.
CPSIA Impacts by Product Category» General Conformity Certificate: Sample, Instructions
for Completion and FAQ (Members only; log in to access.) » Sample Conformity Certificate
(Members only; log in to access.)
CPSIA Training: Related to Undue Influence on 3rd Party Labs
February 4, 2013
Jay Chrystal, president and CEO of Chemserve Lab.
Lead in Leather
March 26, 2012
Mary Toro, director of regulatory enforcement, Consumer Product Safety Commission
The CPSC Public Database
February 3, 2011
Anne Northup, commissioner, Consumer Product Safety Commission
Mary Martha McNamara, McNamara and L’Heureux
Paul Laurenza, Dykema Gossett, PLLC
(Members only; log in to access.) September 29, 2010
‘Periodic’ Testing Requirements Become Effective This Month – February 2013, p.1
Few Injuries Reported on Saferproducts.gov – June 2012, p.4
SaferProducts.gov, One Year Later – April 2012, p.3
Is Your ‘Reasonable’ Testing Program Ready? – October 2011, p.4
Congress Softens Requirements in CPSIA – September 2011, p.3
CPSC Finds Lower Lead Limit Feasible – July 2011, p.3
House Subcommittee Approves Rollback of CPSC Authority – June 2011, p.3
CPSC Public Database Requires Marketing-Driven Response Plan – May 2011, p.7
SaferProducts.Gov Goes Live – April 2011, p. 5