The CPSC has delayed testing for lead exposure until end of year

The CPSC has delayed testing for lead exposure until end of year

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has voted to extend the deadline for testing and certification of lead content in children’s products until 31 December 2011.

The stay, which excludes metal components on children’s metal jewellery, means that manufacturers and importers of children’s products sold in the US now have another 11 months before they need to provide certificates that indicate their products have been tested by a CPSC-approved third party laboratory.

However, manufacturers, importers and retailers must continue to comply with the federal restrictions for total lead content.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) requires that all children’s products have no more than 300 parts per million (ppm) of lead.

The lead content limit will drop to 100 ppm on 14 August 2011 unless CPSC decides it is not technologically feasible to establish this lower limit for a product or product category. The CPSIA also establishes a limit of 90 ppm for lead in paint and surface coatings.

The stay of enforcement does not apply to the 90 ppm limit on lead in paint and surface coatings or to the current 300 ppm limit on lead content in metal components of children’s jewellery – which still require certification based on third party testing.

The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) says the temporary extension “provides some relief for many in the US apparel and footwear industry.”

“However, we remain concerned that this period of time may not provide the CPSC with enough time to complete pending rule makings or for the industry to learn and incorporate those new rules,” says AAFA president and CEO Kevin Burke. 

Since the CPSIA took effect, the US apparel and footwear industry has spent millions of dollars proving that their already safe products are compliant under the new product safety law, according to AAFA. 

In August, the lead standards are set to be reduced to their lowest levels (100ppm). However, it remains to be seen if that limit is even feasible. Among other things, that limit will be implemented in a retroactive manner. Previous retroactively applied standards created havoc in the industry.