CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY IMPROVEMENT ACT OF 2008 – CONFORMITY CERTIFICATES

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) contains provisions increasing the range of products that require general conformity testing and certification, effective for goods manufactured on or after November 12, 2008. The Act is also expected to affect textiles and apparel merchandise, including children’s textiles and apparel, when subject to any applicable rules, regulations, bans or standards.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC)’s public comment period on this topic was closed on October 29, 2008. Although the results have yet to be published, there was an enormous response from within the Trade community. In an interim attempt to guide interested parties, the CPSC has posted two preliminary FAQ documents: (i) FAQ on the CPSIA’s expanded conformity certificate requirements, which also includes a “sample” certificate, and (ii) FAQ on CPSIA’s general requirements.

The FAQ’s on conformity certification (either based on self-testing or third party testing when required for subject children’s products) offers new information on electronic certification as well as a sample certificate and instructions for filling it out. Full details are available at 
www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/faq/elecertfaq.pdf

Highlights are as follows:

  • Requirement that a Certificate “Accompany” Shipments may be met electronically
  • Requirement that Certificate is “Furnished” to retailers/distributors may be met electronically
  • Certificates do not need to be signed
  • CBP has confirmed enforcement will be phased-in (details to follow)

The general CPSIA FAQ answers questions related to the definition of children’s products, the lead paint ban and inaccessibility, the tracking label requirement for children’s products, etc. This document is available at www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/faq/faq.pdf

Metro Customs Brokers Inc. has prepared sample documentation available through our senior consultants. While we note that conformity certificates are not a prerequisite for Customs clearance, we remind you that it they must accompany merchandise that is either excluded by or subject to a rule, regulation, ban or standard.

Ban of Lead-Containing Paint and Certain Consumer Products Bearing Lead-Containing Paint

The Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA) regulates household products that expose children to quantities of lead that could be deemed hazardous. A household product that is not intended for children but which creates a risk of injury because it contains lead requires precautionary labelling under the Act. The following are declared as banned hazardous products:

  • Toys and other articles intended for use by children that include “lead containing paint”
  • Furniture articles for consumers that include “lead containing paint”
  • Children’s jewelry
  • Any item painted or covered with an application containing lead, unless it is incorporated into an article so that it is inaccessible during handling or use

Textile and Apparel Subject to General Conformity Certificates

  • Examples include the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA) and the Flammable Fabrics Act (FFA).

Children’s sleepwear, as well as fabrics and related materials intended for use in children’s sleepwear in sizes 0 through 14, are subject to more stringent flammability standards than the standards applicable to apparel for adults.

Clothing made from vinyl plastic film and vinyl plastic film intended for use in clothing are subject to vinyl plastic film flammability standards.

Examples of materials and products made from those materials that require certificates even though they are exempt from flammability standards include:

  • Plain surface fabrics, regardless of fiber content, weighing 2.6 oz. or more per square yard
  • Plain and raised surface fabrics made of acrylic, modacrylic, nylon, olefin, polyester, wool, or any combination of these fibers, regardless of weight

Importers and exporters are encouraged to review the CPSC’s Clothing Safety Publications at www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/clothpub.html

Information on this and other recent developments, including sample conformity certificates can be obtained from our technical consulting group.