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Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act requirements
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Alex R
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 1:07 pm    Post subject: Re: Demanding Test Results Reply with quote

Valerie Burner wrote:
Do you mean that you will get the test results from the suppliers, rather than having them tested yourself? I would have to charge a fortune for the ten cashmere jackets I am making for a friend's shop if I were to get the fabric tested.


Yes, provided I can get them... See my earlier post on this topic, it's the last post on the 2nd page of this thread.

JC is right though, doing some random testing on your own is always a good idea, particularly if your supplier is not ISO certified.

Quote:
How can we go about finding out if suppliers have done testing, and only purchase from those that test for us? How do we know if they are even aware of it?


This is a tough question. This all happened in August, and is supposed to take effect in 4 days. Many industry people hear about things like this through trade journals and the like, these often only published quarterly. So, a lot of them will not know the new certification regulations. But like I said before, the actual safety regulations have not changed. The Fabric Flammability Act has been around since the '70's and fabric has had to conform since then. If the mill that is developing the fabric does business in the US and is reputable, they should be testing for conformity during the product development cycle.

Are we going to have trouble getting these test results from the suppliers? At first, yes. They'll tell you you don't need it. They'll tell you its proprietary. They'll tell you the new regulations don't apply. They'll tell you all sorts of things. But if we all start demanding this info as a condition of making the sale, money will start to talk.
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Valerie Burner
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply to JC Reply with quote

JC,

Thank you for your reply. I do understand that this is considered a "production cost". But that cost is usually passed on to the consumer... and at 500 units per, say $1,000 testing cost, that breaks down to $2.00 per unit. That's fine. And if you used that same fabric again and again, that makes it even better.

But I have to think in terms of per unit cost, being so small. Every penny counts to me. Let's say that for my 10 jackets I have to pay a $1,000 testing cost... that's $100.00 per jacket. Per fabric. That is a big difference. And then what happens in the spring when I switch to linens and cottons and silks? I am only doing a small number of items at this time, and I can see this thing becoming more than just a nightmare.

I think that those congresspeople who did this had no concept of the spectrum of "manufacturers" with which they were dealing.

My biggest beef with this thing is that while clothing items for adults and kids are regulated off the map, Big Pharma and Big Food are not even getting their hands slapped for all the illnesses and deaths that have occured in this country because of their power, and Big Gov is looking the other way while their palms are getting greased by the other two...

We, The Little People, get screwed every time. Is there any way to contest this? Write Congressmen... picket the White House...stage protests? Anything?

BTW, JC, I love your new word, "Administrivia"!!! :)
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J C Sprowls



Joined: 25 Mar 2006
Posts: 2004

PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No. It's not a production cost. It's a development cost. And, you don't pass this cost along to the consumer, you depreciate development costs over time because they are capital expenses - similar to startup costs.

Your patterns are somewhat tied to your fabric selections. So, as long as you're using that specific fabric in your line to maximum effectiveness (i.e. line cohesion, etc). Then, you're getting the most mileage out of your development costs.

If you're only producing 10 units of one style, then, you're not using your development costs as well as you could be. Still, that's not the consumer's fault, that's your business logistic to figure out.

It still stinks. But, you can't just push it down thinking that other factors aren't an issue. If you push it down because you aren't being as efficient as you could be, you're effectively pricing yourself out of the market.

Quote:
But if we all start demanding this info as a condition of making the sale, money will start to talk.

Not quite true. See... the consumer mentality does not translate into B2B relationships. You can't throw your weight around until you have some - and, even then, you're still at the mercy of the supply chain.

Yes, ISO-compliant fabric mills will perform testing. And, you are entitled to a copy of those when your order sample lengths. However, this may not be sufficient, anymore.

I'd check that act, carefully. You see... Lululemon got into a heap of trouble because they made some claims about fabrics having medicinal and health-granting qualities. Well, they got a little too loud and a competitor brought some of their garments - off the rack - to an independent testing facility. What a big ugly mess that became. Just google it.

That said, what's to prevent a competitor from t-boning you? That $15M is a hot potato that nobody knows how to handle, yet.
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Valerie Burner
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply To JC Reply with quote

JC,

Forgive me for sounding dumb, but that's why I'm here! I know that I am limiting myself by thinking "small", but at this point, I have to do that. (10 jackets was a bit hypothetical!) Starting out on a shoestring budget makes me think in terms of "how quickly can I get a return on this?", "how inexpensively can I buy that fabric", and "can I still pay the bills this week?"

In the future, I do plan to make the collections cohesive and utilize fabrics sensibly- you are right about that.

With all the other setbacks to getting started, another huge cost (not to mention the time it must take to have done) such as this is more than "just another thing to do". It's infuriating.
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Esther
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I threw out the $1000/style that was for a whole range of tests.

fiber analysis
wash testing for compatibility
shrinkage
flammability
thread count
pull testing
I can't remember what else
lead testing on painted metal (the old rules)

Anyway, I was able to reduce the cost by doing the wash testing myself and obtaining test results from the mills. Now as I read it, any testing for children's products will have to been done by a certified testing lab. Does this mean no more shrink testing in my home washer?

Valerie, I would break down the test costing into each product too. True, it is a development cost and it could technically be depreciated as J C states, but the money has to come from somewhere. And until I have a firmer grasp on the exact testing needed and the cost, I have to find a way to recoup it by raising my prices. Depreciating it on my taxes over 5 years doesn't help with today, IMO.

And this is what stinks for the customers of children's products. There will be delays in taking product to market. Additional costs for labels. Time and money spent on additional paperwork. In creased insurance liability. I see it reducing the number of manufacturers and increasing the retail costs. Just my opinion.
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Miracle
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Before everyone freaks out, I think maybe some calls to the Consumer Products Safety Commission are in order. I'm really surprised the thread went on for 4 pages with no one doing that. When I saw it, I thought "well surely someone is going to call and clear this up."

Quote:
Section 102 (a) 1 of the CPSIA mandates


And while a paragraph in this section does kinda sorta read that way, section 102 is

Quote:
SEC. 102. MANDATORY THIRD PARTY TESTING FOR CERTAIN CHILDREN’S PRODUCTS.


Here's a blip:
Quote:
SEC. 102. MANDATORY THIRD PARTY TESTING FOR CERTAIN CHILDREN’S PRODUCTS.
(a) MANDATORY AND THIRD PARTY TESTING.—
(1) GENERAL CONFORMITY CERTIFICATION.—
(A) AMENDMENT.—Paragraph (1) of section 14(a) (15
U.S.C. 2063(a)) is amended to read as follows:
‘‘(1) GENERAL CONFORMITY CERTIFICATION.—Except as provided
in paragraphs (2) and (3), every manufacturer of a product which is subject to a consumer product safety rule under this Act or similar rule, ban, standard, or regulation under any other Act enforced by the Commission and which is imported for consumption or warehousing or distributed in commerce (and the private labeler of such product if such product bears a private label) shall issue a certificate which—
‘‘(A) shall certify, based on a test of each product or


Here are some other resources

http://www.cll.com/news-details.cfm?NewsID=83

http://www.cpsc.gov/cgi-bin/regs.aspx


Quote:
Wearing Apparel
Commencing November 12, 2008, all wearing apparel must be accompanied by a General Conformity Certificate that certifies compliance with current flammability standards applicable to that product. Surface coated component materials such as buttons, snaps and zipper pulls must be certified as to lead paint standards. The CPSC has also identified fabrics as substrate materials, which must be tested for compliance with the specific total lead requirements.


Anyhow, it seems as though the CPSC regulates apparel mainly for flammability issues (the FTC handles most apparel regulation).

Thus, it seems as though the testing required for apparel falls under the above issue, and everything I could find online points to this.

Thus, we should all call the CPSC and find out what is required for what we (as individuals) manufacture.
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Alex R
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

miracle wrote:

And while a paragraph in this section does kinda sorta read that way, section 102 is

Quote:
SEC. 102. MANDATORY THIRD PARTY TESTING FOR CERTAIN CHILDREN’S PRODUCTS.



This section title is one of the things that has added to the confusion surrounding this issue.

If you closely read the text of 102 (a) 1, it says only "products" not "children's products". This is an important distinction, and the key that makes this apply to all of us. The speakers at the workshop we attended indicated that section 102 did NOT include subsection (a) 1 during the period that the bill was being drafted and debated. At that time, it really seemed to just be mandatory third party testing for certain children's products. Subsection (a) 1 appeared suddenly very near the time the bill was finally introduced and voted on. It was one of those last minute amendments that get slipped in wherever they can fit.

The confusion is partially because the CPSIA is an act that amends a group of other acts and codes. As indicated sect 102 (a) 1, this particular subsection is an amendment to 15 USC 2063. Take a look at the USC instead of the CPSIA to see the requirements in proper context. No mention of children's products.

http://uscode.house.gov/uscode-cgi/fastweb.exe?getdoc+uscview+t13t16+2034+3++()


Quote:
Anyhow, it seems as though the CPSC regulates apparel mainly for flammability issues ...

Thus, it seems as though the testing required for apparel falls under the above issue, and everything I could find online points to this.


It's true that the vast majority of our concerns will be flammability, with lead coming second. BUT, there are two other things I can think of of the top of my head that apparel manufacturers have to consider regarding hazardous materials under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act.

Do you...

Dye or paint or silkscreen your fabric in house? If so what dyes/chemicals/paints do you use? Keep in mind that dyes and chemicals may change the flammability factors of fabric, so test AFTER you treat your fabric. Are there restrictions on consumer exposure to these chemicals?

Attach things together with glue of any kind? Use fusible interfacing? Appliques, crystals, other heat-and-stick adornments? Even when used as a production technique to tack or hold fabric, where the glue is washed out during production? Exactly what adhesive are you using, and what are its chemical ingredients? Some adhesives are benign and some are really dangerous. Again, there may be restrictions on consumer exposure.

Miracle is 100% right. Call the CPSC and find out what applies to you. For certain, you have to prepare the Conformity Certificate. But you need to make sure you know exactly what you are certifying.
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Miracle
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
This section title is one of the things that has added to the confusion surrounding this issue.

If you closely read the text of 102 (a) 1, it says only "products" not "children's products". This is an important distinction, and the key that makes this apply to all of us.


I know, I read that and I understand how that becomes confusing. Me personally, I am not sure the CAF interpreted it 100% correctly. I'm not passing this out as legal advice, mind you, thus I would prefer, myself to speak with an attorney well versed in CPSC law for verification of that, or to a staff member of the CPSC. But I could be wrong, so I don't want ANYONE to take what I am saying as advice.

The link you provided reads

Quote:
(1) Every manufacturer of a product which is subject to a consumer product safety standard under this chapter and which is distributed in commerce


And I also understand what you're saying about section 102. But what I have read indicates that the standards for children's products have been heavily increased and that there are specific wearable items, or components of wearable items, that fall under this regulation. But outside of that, children's apparel does not.

If you read the FAQs, that's where it leads. I posted stuff then deleted it, then posted it, then deleted it, but here are two things under the FAQs


Quote:
Section 104: Standards and Consumer Registration of Durable Nursery Products
Q: Will infants’ crib bedding, blankets, bath textiles, and apparel fall under the heading of “durable product”?
A: No. Congress did not define the term “durable,” but it is commonly understood to mean able to exist for a long time without significant deterioration. Cloth/textile items are generally not considered to be durable goods. None of the items Congress specified in section 104 as examples of durable products are items made entirely of cloth, rather they are primarily made from rigid materials (e.g., cribs, toddler beds, high chairs, strollers, bath seats).

US CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION - CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY IMPROVEMENT ACT (CPSIA)
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

These FAQs are unofficial descriptions and interpretations of various features of CPSIA and do not replace or supersede the statutory requirements of the new legislation. These FAQs were prepared by CPSC staff, have not been reviewed or approved by, and may not necessarily reflect the views of, the Commission. Some FAQs may be subject to change based on Commission action.
8
Q: Are baby slings covered by section 104?
A: No. Although Congress specified that infant carriers are covered as durable children’s products under section 104, the staff believes that baby slings are not covered but are nondurable cloth products. (Also see the above answer.)
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Alex R
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

miracle wrote:
I know, I read that and I understand how that becomes confusing. Me personally, I am not sure the CAF interpreted it 100% correctly. I'm not passing this out as legal advice, mind you, thus I would prefer, myself to speak with an attorney well versed in CPSC law for verification of that, or to a staff member of the CPSC.


My apologies are in order, I just realized that I haven't provided the details of the speakers at the seminar we attended. The CAF hosted the event, but the speakers were from Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A., http://www.strtrade.com/str_home.aspx. They handle international trade and business practice issues. The speakers were: Lauren V. Perez, Vice President of Regulatory Matters (see her bio: http://www.strtrade.com/bio.aspx?id=18779) and Gerald Horn, a trade lawyer (see his: http://www.strtrade.com/bio.aspx?id=10315).

I should have provide this earlier, as it gives the context you seek. Unless I've qualified my statements by saying something like "I think...", or have referenced an alternate source, this is the source of the information.

Again, my apologies.
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kpotenti
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure if anybody else saw the small write up in the California Apparel News about the legislation. I thought I would share the link
http://www.apparelnews.net/news/manufacturing/New-Consumer-Product-Safety-Regulations-Set-for-2009
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Vesta
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A few random comments about previous posts. I'm speaking as a manufacturer in the baby products industry who has been through a product recall, and is on a first-name basis with my own, special CPSC buddy. Joy, joy.

Quote:
The stupid things is the chance of finding lead in fabric is unlikely because lead causes fabric to deteriorate quickly.


Not true (the "unlikely" bit). Fabric coming out of China, in particular, often has lead in it. In fact, most manufacturers spec a certain "acceptable" level of lead in the printed fabrics they buy.

Quote:
IMO it should be the responsibility of the fabric/materials suppliers to provide this testing, as they deal with it in much larger quanities, and are selling the products to be used for specific purposes, i.e., clothing, sleepwear...


Don't count on it. All major mills I've worked with (and most converters, too) state specifically on their invoices/packing lists that they absolutely do not certify fabric for any specific purpose, and it's up to you to make sure the fabric meets your specific needs. Now, they may or may not provide you with test results from their own testing procedures, that's another question. But they definitely will not tell you that their fabrics are certified for specific uses. There are just too many uses out there for them to want to take responsibility for the suitability of their fabrics. They don't want to be liable.

Quote:
But my heart goes out to the children's product folks. There are some onerous new regulations coming on top of already stringent policies. Lead and Phthalate levels (and watch out for Bisphenol-A, we just banned that in Canada), third party testing at accredited labs, tracking labels, WOW!


As much as I enjoy taking possession of someone else's heart (Hi Alex!) . . . eh. It ain't that bad. Any of us manufacturing baby slings at more than a hobby level are (or damn well should be) having our products tested by third parties (in our case, SGS is one big international certifier we work with). For us, it's about $500 a pop, for a range of tests relevant to our product, including flammability, toxins, strength. It's not all that onerous. And with international testers like SGS, they're wherever you need them, so your contractors can send items in for testing wherever they operate.

Tracking labels are definitely not onerous. It's as simple as writing a date code on the back of your care labels, or printing up labels with batch numbers for each production run (depending on your volume and production methods).

When we had our (voluntary) recall, the first thing my new buddy at the CPSC asked for was our test results. It's a good thing I had them, because it showed that we had made all kinds of good-faith efforts, and still had trouble. Had we told them we didn't test our products . . . ouch. I don't even want to imagine. They even sent someone around to our little warehouse at the end of the recall to take pictures of the recalled items/parts. How's that for thorough?

I'm not saying this legislation isn't a bummer. I'm watching carefully. I'm just saying that once you get into the habit, these requirements seem reasonable for any manufacturer who is operating at what I think of as a "production" level, as opposed to a craft level (I don't use that word pejoratively - I mean it in the classic sense of crafting items in small quantities). But then again, I can see the reasoning for not making allowances for the smallest manufacturers. I mean, if a child swallows a lead-laden button and gets sick, does it not matter just because the sweater was made in a batch of three by a home-manufacturer?
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Kathleen F.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vesta wrote:
It ain't that bad. Any of us manufacturing baby slings at more than a hobby level are (or damn well should be) having our products tested by third parties (in our case, SGS is one big international certifier we work with). For us, it's about $500 a pop, for a range of tests relevant to our product, including flammability, toxins, strength. It's not all that onerous.

Do you have a name for someone I could interview at SGS? How about your CPSC buddy?

Quote:
When we had our (voluntary) recall, the first thing my new buddy at the CPSC asked for was our test results. It's a good thing I had them, because it showed that we had made all kinds of good-faith efforts, and still had trouble.

The travails of a product recall sounds like a great blog entry (not so subtle hint). Way back when, our slingmaking friend in Austin said she was going to write one but you know how life gets in the way...

Quote:
I'm not saying this legislation isn't a bummer...I'm just saying that once you get into the habit, these requirements seem reasonable for any manufacturer who is operating at what I think of as a "production" level, as opposed to a craft level. But then again, I can see the reasoning for not making allowances for the smallest manufacturers. I mean, if a child swallows a lead-laden button and gets sick, does it not matter just because the sweater was made in a batch of three by a home-manufacturer?

This is the thing...and also not intended negatively... few small producers exhibit the kind of integrity that someone like Esther does (but then, she really does have a background in the business). DEs will sometimes get too busy and cut corners that better managed growth would avoid. For example, like I keep saying over and over till I'm blue in the face, it's smaller informal sewing contractors who are more likely to "abuse" their workers in part, farming it out to home workers on questionable pay rates, not large ones (and craft producers usually go to home workers or tiny informal contractors who aren't legal businesses...can we say "liability"?). Large contractors are too visible to regulators to be able to get away with bad practices. So, iow, it is smaller DE producers that keep informal sewing shops viable. DEs think they're avoiding sweat shops by using a small contractor on their same level, when they're actually creating the market for them. Don't get me started on one member here who says she does contract work, who had the gall to tell another member that most sewing contractors only have eight foot long cutting tables in justification for her excessive marker making costs... Not to say all smaller operators are bad just that with their low profile, they avoid oversight -just like their customers. Iow, just as start up DEs cut corners, as do many small cut and sew shops. As a general rule, I'd avoid hiring a home based contract shop unless I could prove that individual worker did it all and didn't subcontract. If another individual were needed, I'd contract with them directly; I wouldn't assume the first party managed it well.

If the CA regulations were strictly enforced, I think 30%-50% of etsy vendors would close overnight.
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hcdarmara
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:13 pm    Post subject: Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act requirements Reply with quote

There are two lines in the CPSC summary that calm me down, perhaps.
Quote:
Most hats, gloves, footwear, and fabrics used between the linings and outer fabrics of garments are not required to meet this standard.

and
Quote:
Years of flammability testing has shown that the following fabrics consistently pass as Class 1 textiles and are exempt from the reasonable and representative testing requirements for firms issuing a flammability guaranty on these fabrics:
(1) plain surface fabrics, regardless of fiber content, weighing 2.6 ounces per square yard or more; and
(2) all fabrics (both plain surface and raised-fiber surface) regardless of weight, made entirely from any of the following fibers or entirely from a combination of these fibers: acrylic, modacrylic,
nylon, olefin, polyester, and wool.

So, if I am an esty seller, all I have to do is make sure that I am using 100% wool and knitting only socks and hats.

But, seriously, perhaps the person who commented that a call to the CPSP is in order has a point. The inclusion of "all products" and the requirement for the people who wrote the act to include costs and benefits may required some feedback.

One of the press releases (sorry, I forgot which link) said this was aimed at imported products -- and people who manufacture overseas -- must have been talking to someone who had not read the final act.
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Esther
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Not true (the "unlikely" bit). Fabric coming out of China, in particular, often has lead in it. In fact, most manufacturers spec a certain "acceptable" level of lead in the printed fabrics they buy.


Who knows what's coming out of China? That's the biggest problem here. This blog entry, from the National Textile Association, indicates that textiles produced and printed in the US do not have lead. Unfortunately the textile industry in the US is nearly dead.

I have calls/emails into the certified testing labs. None of them have transparent pricing. One lab that has sort of responded gave the impression of a price differential between retailers and manufacturers. I don't get it. Oh well.

Quote:
If the CA regulations were strictly enforced, I think 30%-50% of etsy vendors would close overnight.


Let's not mention the lack of care/content and country of origin tags.
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Pamela
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks so much Esther!!

What would anyone suggest for my situation, hope I'm not changing the subject too much but I don't think so. We get many styles per year with limited fabric quantities per style. Unless we manufacture the fabric at a mill which we are starting to do in limited amounts. But right now we get fabrics in "bundles" and we can make about 100-125 outfits per "bundle of fabric". There is no way I can do a test for each style or each separate fabric.

However, the fabric is really broken down into two types: cotton knit and cotton woven and for spring/summer we will use georgette which I think is more of a polyester.

Would it be fair to say we can do tests on each of these fabric types and still be in compliance?

Thanks,
Pam
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