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Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act requirements
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Marnie
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2008 7:48 pm    Post subject: Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act requirements Reply with quote

I haven't seen this mentioned anywhere, so I thought I'd bring it up.

I just got back from a workshop hosted by the Canadian Apparel Federation on the American CPSIA which takes effect on November 12 and applies to all manufacturers, importers and private labellers of consumer goods (including apparel) sold in the United States. Here's the overview from CAF:


Quote:
These new regulations require immediate action on the part of exporters to the United States.  All companies exporting to the U.S. should be aware of the new law and its various requirements. Some of the more important of these are as follows:

Manufacturers and importers must certify in writing that products manufactured on or after November 12, 2008 and imported into the U.S. for warehousing and/or consumption conform with any applicable rules, bans, regulations or standards administered by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. 
Certificates of conformity must be based on a “reasonable” testing program, must accompany the product or the shipment of the product and thereafter must be furnished to each distributor or retailer of the product. 
If no certificate is issued, or if a false certificate is found to be on hand, the shipment may be refused admission and destroyed.
Civil penalties for violations of consumer product safety laws are increased.  
Corporate officers may be subject to criminal liability for violations of consumer product safety laws.  


Children’s Products
There are numerous requirements and challenges with respect to children’s products. Some of the more important of these are as follows.

Beginning by the end of 2008, manufacturers and importers must provide certification of third-party testing by an accredited laboratory of all children’s products.
Permissible levels of lead content in children’s products and paint have been lowered.  
The amount of certain phthalates allowed in children’s products will be reduced.   
All children’s products must have permanent tracking labels.  


As far as I know, domestic manufacturers are also required to furnish these certificates. The focus of this email was on exporting because it was sent to Canadians.

You can find information on the CPSIA here:
http://www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/cpsia.html

We spent a few hours going over the act in the workshop, so feel free to ask any questions and I'll do my best to answer them.
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Kathleen F.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2008 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Marnie
Would you consider writing an entry for the blog? I am well over due on publishing topics of interest to our Canadian visitors.
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Esther
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2008 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does this apply to domestic manufacturers selling domestically? It certainly implies it.

If so, I am out. I am done. I quit.

I know the writing was on the wall. But really, this is completely unreasonable with an unreasonable deadline.

Somebody better tell all those Etsy and Ebay sellers.

These kinds of rules have all kinds of unintended consequences.
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Marnie
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2008 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kathleen - I've asked Alex (my husband) to write up a blog post outlining the main points of the act. He's better at this sort of thing than I am. You should hear from him shortly.

Do note, this act does apply to both foreign and domestic producers.
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Bethany
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Before everyone starts running around talking about how the sky is falling, I would just wait and see if the government starts to actually do anything about this. Plus, I dont see anything about woven goods. And last, what will probably happen is the fabric companies will all have testing done on their fabrics to 'prove' the levels of lead in them. These papers will probably just come with your invoice when you receive your fabric order.

When the law changed here in California that the garment industry had to self regulate by having everyone 'prove' to everyone else that you had licenses and whatnot, everyone just started sending out papers that you had to sign that said you had a license, even if you didnt. Nobody checks those papers and as far as I can tell, no government agency is going around doing audits on manufacturers unless they have other issues going on such as low wages, no overtime, etc.

So sit tight.
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Esther
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 8:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The regulation appears to apply to all regulated children's products in a broad, general way. So it's way more than just lead. There are small parts. Metal Jewelry. Fabric flammability. Drawstrings. I only started reading the act and it puts a lot of responsibility on the manufacturer to provide proof of testing by a certified third party. Labeling requirements. This is a big deal.

I am frustrated because I am usually up on these things and I missed it. Congress slipped this through in August without anyone noticing and it has fast deadlines. It adds a layer of bureaucracy and cost that I would debate does NOT make children any safer than they were before.

No the sky is not falling. But these new regulations are a very heavy burden.
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DarbyC
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as no auditing goes, don't be so confident. Don't know how it is in CA, but literally weeks after I got my manuf. certificate of registration (here in NY), I was audited. I was so shocked, since I hadn't even produced any product yet.
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DarbyC
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Found this link about it. Wow.
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Kathleen F.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alex (Marnie's husband) wrote a great entry for us on the blog. I'm still trying to follow up on loose ends.

One thing everyone has forgotten is the mechanisms for enforcement. This is budgetary. Iow, just because a law is passed doesn't mean it will be enforced UNLESS there was a allowance made for it in the budget -these are two separate issues.

Case in point. When Reagan was president, he found it much easier to circumvent EPA standards by cutting their enforcement budget. Sure, he could have gone head to head with congress fighting over loosening the regulations and risk a lot of grief in the press with tree-huggers but he was far more effective in cutting the legs off of the EPA by "earmarking" a reduction in their enforcement budget to $20,000 (yeah, he really did that). Of course there was quite a holler and it was amended the following year but the point should be made. It could be there's no budget -yet. Like I said, I have to figure out how to follow up on this.
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Marnie
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Budget is something they mentioned in the workshop.

Back in August when this all went through, there was a lot of money earmarked for this project. However, the economy did its thing in September and October, and there now, post-bailout, there isn't the budget they'd planned on to enforce this.

There are currently 30 CPSC enforcement officers, up from 8 last year. Who knows how many there will be next year.
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Alex R
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keep in mind that while a lack of budget can reduce the amount of proactive enforcement, you still need to cover against reactive enforcement. A law is a law, regardless if a police officer is standing there to enforce it. If something bad happens because of your product, they are going to find out if you ignored the new regulations. You'll have just made the hole you're in quite a bit deeper...
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Esther
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And it would appear the the penalties are severe regardless of the enforcement. If a problem surfaces from a customer reporting it, the Commission can come after you. You will be investigated and you will have to provide proof of testing, certificates, etc. The maximum fines are millions of dollars and jail time, not to mention legal fees and insurance payouts. Definitely not some to play around with.
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Kathleen F.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alex R wrote:
A law is a law, regardless if a police officer is standing there to enforce it.

Yes I know and am the sort to feel strongly about it. I was hoping it might buy somebody a little time to come into compliance.
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Pamela
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How would one even go about getting fabric tested? We manufacture overseas so where would the fabric have to be tested and what kind of lab would do this?

Pam
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Alex R
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kathleen F. wrote:
I was hoping it might buy somebody a little time to come into compliance.


Fortunately, the information we received indicates the CPSC understands that the 3 month legislative time frame is not based in reality. With the exception of the new lead regulations, the November 13th date is a soft target in their minds. We were advised that provided you make a "best effort" to be in compliance, they will cut you some slack during the break-in period. So, now is the time to start trying to get testing done, and to speak with your suppliers. Certainly if you are just starting now, you will not be in full compliance next Wednesday. But if you can show that you are actively working towards it, you should be OK.
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