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CPSC Eases Tracking Rule

Jul 28, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) commissioners have just unanimously voted for draft statement approval for specific “good faith” compliance. reported that the compliance will allow manufacturers credit for good faith regarding tracking label requirements that will be mandated by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) that is effective this August.

“I believe that the guidance unanimously approved by the Commission ... will help to achieve the goals of improved recall effectiveness and better protection of consumers while also providing industry with assurance that the Commission does not intend to penalize manufacturers for inadvertent violations of the statute when they have made a good faith effort in attempting to comply with the tracking label requirements,” said the agency’s recently-appointed chairman, Inez Tenenbaum, quoted Playthings.

According to CPSC commissioner and former acting chairman, Nancy Nord, “It is important to note that the guidance issued today probably will not be the last word on this important issue,” reported Playthings.

Citing Section 103(a) of the CPSIA, Playthings notes that manufacturers must place permanent, distinguishing marks on children’s products and children product packaging “to the extent practicable” in order to better enable parents and retailers to “quickly recognize whether a toy they own or stock is the same as one involved in a recall.”

This section of the CPSIA has concerned retailers for reasons Tenenbaum discussed: Not all tracking labels are created equal; small manufacturers are worried that because of small volumes produced, products requiring labeling, do not lend themselves to lot, batch, and run labeling systems”; and the difficulties experienced by retailers in understanding how to comply have made it difficult for some retailers to meet the August 14 date for implementing the requirements, reported Playthings.

The CPSC's new interpretation and policy statement about Section103(a) can be accessed at:
Earlier this year, we wrote that the CPSC announced it voted unanimously (2-0) to issue a one-year stay of enforcement for certain testing and certification requirements that are also part of the CPSIA and which were to have become effective on February 10, 2009. The stay applied to manufacturers and importers of regulated products, including products intended for children 12 years old and younger and provides limited relief from the testing and certification requirements for new total lead content limits (600 ppm), phthalates limits for certain products (1000 ppm), and mandatory toy standards, among others.

Children’s product manufacturers and importers of all sizes will not be required to test or certify to these new requirements, but must meet the lead and phthalates limits, mandatory toy standards, and other requirements.

The stay will remain in effect until February 10, 2010, at which time a Commission vote will be taken to terminate the stay. The delay provides CPSC staff with additional time to finalize four proposed rules, which could relieve certain materials and products from lead testing, as well as to issue additional guidance on when testing is required and how such testing is to be conducted.

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