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Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act requirements
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Alex R
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pamela wrote:
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


Hi Pam,

If you are working with children's products, you are required to have the testing done at a CPSC accredited laboratory. I'm not sure how to find those...

If you are working with general products, you need only "a reasonable testing program." This includes in-house testing but not many of us have those resources! Look up laboratories in your local yellow pages, and ask them if they do product safety testing.

Check with your suppliers and see if they have done any testing already, you might be able to use that. The post I wrote up will have more details!

Alex R
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Pamela
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is the full bill. I did a search for cloth and clothing and there is not one mention of the word "cloth" or "clothing" in the entire bill for those who do clothing.

http://thomas.loc.gov/home/gpoxmlc110/h4040_enr.xml

Pam
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Esther
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Certified labs for lead testing:

http://cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/accredited.html#leadpaint

The bill is not clothing specific. The problem is the wording of the bill. It refers to ALL products that are for children or to be used by children 12 years and younger. Clothing would certainly be one of those products. Further the bill mentions enforcement of all regulated products with the addition of whatever safety regulation they feel is necessary without any oversight.

The lead requirement is not enforced until December 2009.

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

[edited to fix the lead paint deadline. I misread it and it appears to be in December.]


Last edited by Esther on Sun Nov 09, 2008 10:09 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Alex R
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The real kicker is that this is not even specific to children's products.

Section 102 (a) 1 of the CPSIA mandates that ALL manufacturers, importers or private labelers of ANY consumer product must prepare a General Conformity Certificate that is to be furnished to downstream retailers and distributors with EVERY shipment. And issuing the certificate requires testing.

Scary stuff... The blog post I have written will explain in much further detail.

Pam: the bill itself won't mention specific items like clothing, nor the standards that apply. It specifies how to apply the existing product safety regulations. Apparel is mostly subject to the Federal Flammable Fabrics Act, however any adhesives, resins, paints, or chemical dyes may fall under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act.

Please note that outside of children's products, the standards remain largely the same, however your reporting requirements have changed.
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Kathleen F.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The article Alex wrote has [url=//fashion-incubator.com/archive/new-product-safety-regulations-that-affect-all-manufacturers/]been posted[/url].

Thanks Alex, you're punchy. Edits were very minor, mostly for format. Hope they are okay. Look it over in case I missed something.
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SarahM
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for your informative post Alex.
However, it is really stressing me out.
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Anne
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do infant and toddler wear, and my main question is: if all my fabrics are certified organic, and all my snaps/zippers lead and nickel-free, can I get my product tested by a government-approved lab just once, to ensure this, instead of every single production run? I'm not even sure which "bans" or safety requirements would apply to my line -- it sounds like just that it conforms to sleepwear and lead requirements. Flat (non-nap) 100% cotton fabrics are not required to be flame-tested, and that's all I use. So it's really just my zippers and snaps.

If we have to pay to have everything tested every single production run, that would be absurd. GRR!!!
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lisa versaci
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got this from the gov website.

The requirement for tracking labels is effective one year after the date of enactment or August 14, 2009. The requirements prohibiting advertising claims are effective 60 days after enactment or October 13, 2008.

So, is Aug 14th 2009 the date or what?

-Lisa
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Anne
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It sounds from below like the product can be tested once, and then only "periodically" as long as there have been no changes in suppliers:

a childrenís product tested for compliance with an applicable childrenís product safety rule is subject to testing periodically and when there has been a material change in the productís design or manufacturing process, including the sourcing of component parts;

(A) submit sufficient samples of the childrenís product, or samples that are identical in all material respects to the product, to a third party conformity assessment body accredited under paragraph (3) to be tested for compliance with such childrenís product safety rule
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lisa versaci
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Any idea which third party certifications will pass for acceptable? Certified Organic, Oeko-Tex 100, ISO 1400, GOTS for dying or any others? Are these alone enough to prove you are working toward meeting the criteria?
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Alex R
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 7:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lisa versa wrote:
Any idea which third party certifications will pass for acceptable? Certified Organic, Oeko-Tex 100, ISO 1400, GOTS for dying or any others? Are these alone enough to prove you are working toward meeting the criteria?


Hi Lisa,

This question sort of came up during the workshop we attended. Someone wanted to know if the government was mandating any specific tests. And no, they are not mandating anything specific. If a test proves that the product conforms to the regulations, that is fine.

So how do certifications fit in? Well, in order to achieve a certification for your product, it must be tested to ensure it conforms to the criteria of the certifying organization. If one of those test results also shows that the product conforms to the product safety regulations, then that should be sufficient to show you meet the criteria.

Now, will the CPSC accept the third party certification as proof of conformity? Or will they require you to have the actual underlying test results?

I don't know (and I don't think they do either), but my feeling is this.

If you are dealing with general consumer products, and you have been certified by a recognized organization (ISO, etc...) you will probably be fine (but you will still have to produce the General Conformity Certificate mentioned in the blog).

If you are dealing with children's products, then the tests need to be done at an accredited laboratory. So then you have to ask your certification issuer if their lab is accredited. If so, then you should probably be OK.

I would recommend that you call the organization who issued the certification to ask them about this. They should be aware of these new regulations, and may have further information about their testing, and indeed may have received legal opinions on whether their certification will be sufficient to show compliance.

Take their answer with a grain of salt! This whole thing is so big, and being rammed through so fast, that nobody (including the CPSC) really knows anything quite yet...

I would try to get my hands on the underlying testing and results if you can. THIS will be sufficient, where the certificate may or may not.
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Lara S
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keep in mind that a General Conformity Certificate is only required for products manufactured on or after November 12, 2008. Any current stock is not included in these new regulations.
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Pamela
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So when will this certificate be required to be shown for importers? At customs entry? Would you think that import agents are aware of this new law?

As an importer whose fabrics are changing with each collection it sounds like I can take a sample of 5 or so cotton fabrics to a lab here, have them tested, and use that information in my certificate for at least a year or so. Do I have this right?

Thanks,
Pam
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Alex R
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pamela wrote:
So when will this certificate be required to be shown for importers? At customs entry? Would you think that import agents are aware of this new law?


The certificate is NOT considered part of the entry documentation, and therefore does not need to be presented at entry. However, it does need to be included in the shipment, therefore it must be present. This is how lawyers get rich ;) CPB is aware of the new certification regulations and will impound non-compliant shipments.

Import agents should be aware of this. That said, this took many people by surprise. The children's products side of this has been in the pipe for about a year, but the inclusion of all consumer products happened very suddenly in August. Most people and companies are only just finding out that this isn't someone else's problem.

Pamela wrote:
As an importer whose fabrics are changing with each collection it sounds like I can take a sample of 5 or so cotton fabrics to a lab here, have them tested, and use that information in my certificate for at least a year or so. Do I have this right?


Yes, but be careful. The act calls for a "reasonable testing program", and provided there is not significant variation in your fabrics, annual testing seems reasonable. Excepting children's products, you are permitted to test the raw materials, provided they are not substantially altered during assembly.

The "be careful" means you need to make sure that the tests you did 8 months ago are still valid! This comes from knowing and talking to your suppliers and contractors. For example, your mill makes a production technique change. The fabric may appear the same, but may not produce the same test results. If you certified that the product complies, and it doesn't, you may be in trouble. Even if you didn't know. Same thing for shady contractors. We don't like to think about it, but sometimes raw materials are substituted during production. If you tested and certified for specific materials and they used different ones, you may be in trouble.

This is where ISO certified contractors will help you sleep at night...
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Alex R
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Getting Fabric Test Results From Your Suppliers

If you are NOT making children's products, you are permitted to use testing of raw materials, provided they are not substantially altered during assembly. Here's the thing... If you are dealing with a large, reputable mill or agency for fabric, and they do a lot of business in the U.S., they may have already done the required testing. The Fabric Flammability Act regulations haven't changed. The fabric has had to comply with the FFA since the '70s, and a reputable company should be testing to ensure compliance. The only change on Nov. 13th is that you need to certify compliance.

So ask your supplier if they have any testing to prove compliance! If they can provide you with a copy of the test results, then you're 90% done. Tests are the expensive part, and it's all just paperwork after that.

There is a catch... (There's always a catch ;)

When you prepare a General Conformity Certificate, you are absolutely responsible for the contents. If you receive incorrect test data and certify based on it, you are still responsible. Again, it comes down to trust with your suppliers. Here's where the warm hug of an ISO or ANSI certification will make you feel better. I would think that if, in good faith, you based a certification on test data supplied by an externally certified company, that should be considered "reasonable" under the act, even if there was a problem.
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