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Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act requirements
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Esther
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read the final rule and I am left with the impression that CPSC itself is in a state of chaos. It sounded like a letter of complaint about the amount questions they have received. It really didn't clear anything up for me, I am still confused. First they say everyone needs a certificate which is based on "reasonable" testing and now only importers. And yet the children product manufacturers are left in limbo. What do we do?

The certificate of compliance is really in the same state as ISO certification, IMO. Manufacturers issue the certificates to themselves, except for children's product manufacturers which must have a lab issue the certification. It makes one wonder if those certificates will be rendered worthless over time.
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unlimiteddesign
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

I think explaining how I've seen ISO9001:2000 implemented at some of the companies I've worked with might help bring a better understanding of how it applies to sewn products.

From an internal perspective, the procedure manual usually outlines areas of responsibility for each department (or team member), which in return makes it easy to track down problems (and their source).

One of my clients (ISO certified) has a policy to "give priority" to vendors that are also ISO compliant... The reson being that they "should be prepared" to produce a copy of their procedure manuals as part of the preliminary evaluation.
The logic behind asking for the procedure manual from the vendor is to get an idea of how they are structured and to have a common "basis of resolution" when a problem arises.

A good example of ISO at work is one instance where 5000 trousers were received from a vendor and 40% ended up being too small.
The problem was that an additional fabric source was used in order to complete the order, and the company never notified the vendor (as specified in the procedure manual) ... On the other hand the vendor didn't test the fabric before cutting (as specified in their procedure manual)...
The outcome was that both parties agreed to split the loss (50/50) because there were mistakes on both parts identified by using their corresponding procedure manuals as reference.
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Last edited by unlimiteddesign on Thu Nov 13, 2008 1:49 pm; edited 2 times in total
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J C Sprowls



Joined: 25 Mar 2006
Posts: 2004

PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah. I get that too.

I was a little annoyed that they whined: "you should know what's required of you".

Because my response to that is: "I'm not the one changing the rules, dumba$$"
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Alex R
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ISO certification. Is it useless? Maybe, maybe not...

A range of people with experience in ISO have weighed in on the relative quality and usefulness of the certification. In the Real World, it may well be as useless as the paper it's written on.

But! This issue exists in a parallel universe called the Legal World, and in the Legal World "the paper it's written on" has some value.

The new regulations call for “a test of each product or upon a reasonable testing program” . So, is relying on your ISO certified supplier's testing "reasonable"? Under certain circumstances, I think it is. (I'm still actively researching this. If I find anything definitive, you'll be the first to know.)

Most important in my mind would be the "reputability" of the supplier. If you are dealing with an industry recognized supplier who has an excellent reputation for quality, who is a member of all the correct associations, and who has never caused you or anyone you know any problems, that sounds reasonable to me.

However, if you are dealing with a fly-by-nighter, (you know who I'm talking about), and it can be shown that you had any doubt in your mind about the accuracy of the testing, that is NOT reasonable.

Keep in mind, this means reasonable to a lawyer or judge. Lawyers and judges love audits and certifications and procedure manuals and all that sort of thing. These things are what quantify a qualitative requirement like "reasonable" when making a decision.
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Jody
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 4:56 pm    Post subject: time to act Reply with quote

Hello all,
I have reviewed all three of the recently issued documents from CPSC that JC posted (Thanks, JC). The third link is to a request for public comment, which I think we need to act upon as a group.

Our forum clearly has a great deal of political will. If you read my earlier post, I explained about the importance of public comment periods and how they are our primary means for getting our voices heard, which is necessary to protecting our interests.

The request for comments deals specifically with the phalate ban, which would also apply to children's products. When I read the document, my first thought was that my products don't have pthalates in them. But, then I started wondering about the buttons I use...

Whether your products or mine may have pthalates in them is irrelevant. My point is, that amidst what is clearly chaos, we need to be vigilant about the way this law is implemented in the coming months. This means submitting comments during each public comment period for CPSIA rulemaking that could potentially have an affect on our industry. I work for government....we don't always get it right when we make the rules...

This is an opportunity to make the case to have children's apparel exempted from these requirements. There will be more opportunities in the coming months, and we should take advantage of each and every one to ask for an exemption.

Despite what you see in the request for comments, this is doable.
If you read the request, you probably think that you don't have access to the kind of information that they are asking for. And, you're probably right. I know I don't. So, I did a quick search on pthalates in children's apparel and found a golden nugget: https://www.apparelandfootwear.org/letters/phthalatecommentsapparel.pdf

This is a letter sent to the CPSC on October 18, 2008 by the American Apparel and Footwear Assoication (AAFA) specifically requesting that children's apparel be exempted from the ban on phtalates. This organization presents sound argument and has already mobilized to protect the interests of its members. We should do the same.

It would be to our benefit to see if we can join forces with AAFA to generate a greater political presence. I'm not sure what the best way to do this might be but a previous post made some suggestions in this regard.

One idea that would be very easy to for us as a group to implement would be to start a letter writing campain that builds off of the AAFA arguments for the exemption. If we do this, I think it would be important to first contact the AAFA and let them know what we're considering. In addition to being a professional courtesy, a conversation with this organization might help us to brainstorm additional ideas on how to inject some sanity into the coming regulation so that it doesn't put us out of business.

I think it's important to act on this. And, the easiest way to do that might be to join forces with AAFA. We have only until February 11, 2009 to submit our comments. With the holidays coming, that date will sneak up on us pretty quickly. We need to organize now.

Kathleen, can you offer any suggestions on how we might do this from the forum (logistically speaking?). Also, I would be happy to call AAFA to discuss approaches with them. However, I would only do so if I have this group's blessing. If we have members who are also members of AAFA, they would probably be a more appropriate choice to have this conversation with AAFA. Just let me know.
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Valerie Burner
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This makes perfect sense to me. Much better than protesting or picketing the White House, and we don't have to travel to do it! Tee hee hee!
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Pamela
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought the rule was final with no public responses offered. I guess we can still write to them, there is a spot right on the site for questions to be sent.

Pam
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Lisa Bloodgood
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with throwing our weight in with the AAFA and whomever else wants to be involved.

I only make children's things for my stepchildren, nieces, and nephews. So not as a business.

But most of the other things I make are made from fabric/notions I get at the fabric stores since I don't have the $$$ to get it wholesale yet. The other things are from my own stash of new/old/strange stuff and some rolls of stuff from a yard sale (including duppioni silk, my favorite!). So of course I'm interested how this affects us tiny DE's and sellers on etsy and eBay. Natch, I want my products to be safe for everyone, but I don't want this to mean that us tiny/small/even medium DE's have to stop making anything except for ourselves and have to get day jobs that we could possibly despise. KWIM? The fabric stores could possibly implement their own testing, couldn't they? This IS a can of worms.

Ugh!
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Pamela
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The problem is that this Act is not just for children's items, it is really really broad and I am sure it can encompass any clothing because it is "similar" and the wording of the Act is very general.

According to the FAQ page on this Act even children's video's will have to be tested.

Q: Does the new requirement for total lead on children's products apply to children's books, cassettes and CD's, printed game boards, posters and other printed goods used for children's education?

A: In general, yes. CPSIA defines children’s products as those products intended primarily for use by children 12 and under. Accordingly, these products would be subject to the lead limit for paint and surface coatings at 16 CFR part 1303 (and the 90 ppm lead paint limit effective August 14, 2009) as well as the new lead limits for children’s products containing lead (600 ppm lead limit effective February 10, 2009, and 300 ppm lead limit effective August 14, 2009). If the children’s products use printing inks or materials which actually become a part of the substrate, such as the pigment in a plastic article, or those materials which are actually bonded to the substrate, such as by electroplating or ceramic glazing, they would be excluded from the lead paint limit. However, these products are still considered to be lead containing products irrespective of whether such products are excluded from the lead paint limit and are subject to the lead limits for children’s products containing lead. For lead containing children’s products, CPSIA specifically provides that paint, coatings, or electroplating may not be considered a barrier that would render lead in the substrate inaccessible to a child.

Pam
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Valerie Burner
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does anyone have any idea what kinds of fabrics would be most likely to contain these substances? (Phthalates, lead, cadmium, whatever else they are looking for?)

Are these substances more likely to be found in synthetic fabrics as opposed to natural...knits as opposed to wovens...from certain countries as opposed to others?

Can these substances be washed or dry-cleaned out of the fabrics?

I stopped eating chocolate a couple weeks ago (not an easy thing to do) because many brands were found to contain above-acceptable levels of lead. Strange that we've not heard more about that- especially since we eat it...
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Anne
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bureau Veritas has a detailed FAQ on their website, and they are submitting their own questions to the CPSC. Among them are:

Will the CPSC expect all textile materials in children’s products including low risk materials such as white cotton from an onesie, be tested for lead in substrate?

Do bibs and sleepwear fall under the phthalates requirement? Is there any other apparel that would fall under the phthalates requirement?

Could hangtags and adhesive labels be used as tracking labels for textile type items?
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Esther
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At some point we will need some publicity, once we are more organized. Anyone good at doing press pieces?
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Pamela
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 1:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I found a little relief with this Q & A from the Bureau Veritas site

http://tinyurl.com/6pacp5

Q: Does wearing apparel fall under the scope of the phthalates requirement?

A: The law indicates that the phthalates requirement includes toys and child care articles. A child care article is defined as a product that is designed or intended to facilitate sleep or feeding of children less than three years of age or help such children with sucking or teething. Only apparel that falls within this definition would be required to comply with the phthalates requirement.

Pam
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Valerie Burner
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 8:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pam,

I saw that last night, too, and felt that they were referring more to baby bottles, pacifiers, and things of that nature. I also did a little more research on phthalates. They are mostly found in children's soft plastic toys, PVC items, furnishings, car interiors, and other plastics to make them more pliable. That would probably include dog and cat chew toys as well.

I could not find much on the phthalates in everyday fabrics- except things such as vinyl, and I could not find anything referring to lead quantities in any type of fabric. The only thing that referred to lead in garments was in regards to Swarovski crystals, and they have a warning right on the website about Prop 65...

I will look further, and am concerned for the little DEs- not that they will find lead or other metals in our garments, but that the testing itself will put us all out of business.

I'm on board to help in any way I can.
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Vesta
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know about most other heavy metals, but lead is likely to be found in printed fabrics, regardless of weave. It's found in the inks/paints. The specs of large companies that I've seen have stated that 600 ppm is an acceptable level of lead in roller-printed fabrics. If you notice, the CPSIA is using this as a starting level, then wanted the amount reduced incrementally. It's possible. But even we have found 2 ppm in our products, and they're certified organic, processed to GOTS standards. It sure seems like we should be able to get to ZERO lead, but it's hard.
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