Since the enactment of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in 2008, the U.S, Consumer Product Safety Commission has felt increasingly emboldened by the act’s authorization to level heavy civil penalties against various product manufacturers and importers for safety compliance and protocol violations.
The CPSIA was created to enforce updated and stricter requirements for product testing and documentation--including mandatory third-party verification for children’s products. The act also establishes threshold limits on potentially hazardous substances such as lead and phthalates.
The act affects all kinds of products, but its overriding focus is on children’s products, which have fallen under increased scrutiny, from consumer safety advocates to governing safety bodies worldwide.
Basically, the CPSIA is a product compliance framework with established steps all manufacturing and importing companies must take before they can market their product in the U.S. The responsibility for conforming to these steps falls squarely on the manufacturing or importing company.
The process is complex, particularly so if your product includes variations in style--even colors; and without a thorough understanding of what’s expected, or a comprehensive, third-party testing strategy to back up your claims of compliance, your company faces potential exposure to costly compliance lapses which will set you back immeasurably, both financially and in brand reputation.
This is the bottom line requirement for every product on the market and the reason for compliance testing, proper labeling and timely incident reporting. Your company cannot depend on suppliers, or even hired production factories to automatically know or take seriously all necessary safety specifications dictated by your target market.
You will need to maintain information records about which standards you’ve applied to your product, along with verified testing results.
Tracking labels are required on all products meant primarily for use by children 12 years or younger. They must be permanently affixed to the product and/or packaging (an attached paper label is not considered permanent enough), and include information concerning:
The manufacturer or private labeller’s name
When and where it was produced
A specific batch or run number
Any other identification meant to clarify the source of the product
An additional product registration card is required for “durable infant and toddler products”, like cribs, strollers and bassinets. These are detachable, postage-paid registration cards requesting consumer contact information in case of a recall on that particular product.
All consumer products must comply with applicable safety and quality standards laid out by the CSPC; and for children’s products, third-party testing by a CPSC-accredited laboratory is mandatory.
CSPC lab testing requirements have been characterized as complicated due to the fact that rules stipulate that applicable testing should be performed on initial product batches for all products and components, as well as on any similar product which has undergone a manufacturing change or variation in style--including a simple difference in color. The same toy car produced in two different color options requires two initial batch tests.
Your company will also be required to provide a testing schedule or plan for any ongoing product safety testing.
For non-children’s products, your company must issue a General Certificate of Conformity (GCC). Your GCC must include:
Product identification — covered by the certificate
Test citations — of every applicable safety regulation by which your product must be tested against
Company identification — (name, address, telephone number) of your importing or manufacturing company issuing the certificate
Record keeper identification — contact information for whomever maintains your testing records
Date of manufacture — accurately to the month and year of manufacture or final assembly
Location of manufacture — accurately to the city (or region) and country of manufacture or final assembly
Compliance testing information — date and location of all compliance testing for your product
Third-party testing identification — although third-party testing is voluntary for non-children’s products, it is required to provide full identification of any third-party testing body used
Children’s products require a Children’s Product Certificate (CPC) supported by applicable third-party testing data. Available data here should be the same as with the GCC for non-children’s products, along with the inclusion of all mandatory, third-party testing by a CPSC-approved laboratory.
It cannot be overstated the importance of both understanding the steps to product conformance and the consequences of falling out of step with any facet of CPSIA requirements.
QIMA can establish a compliance program to assist your company from the outset with production design guidance that incorporates all national and international regulations.
We can also help you to carry out an efficient testing plan that:
Ensures no product variation slips through the testing cracks
conscience and confidence. Contact our expert team for more information!