CPSC's Exemptions to Third-party Testing Create Compliance Confusion
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has announced a program that could relieve some manufacturers from the burdens of product safety testing. The Small Batch Manufacturer's Registry will provide qualifying manufacturers exemptions to the complicated and costly testing requirements found in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008.
The Small Batch Manufacturer's Registry will allow manufacturers to forego third-party testing on certain classes of products if they meet two requirements: first, that the manufacturer has $1 million or less in sales per year; and second, that they produce no more than 7,500 units of the covered product per year. Companies that fulfill both of these requirements can register with SaferProducts.gov to receive the exemption for the particular items and be listed on registry on that site.
Acceptance onto the Small Batch Manufacturer's Registry does not exempt a company from CPSIA's product safety compliance requirements. Qualifying companies are permitted to forego additional third-party testing on children's products, but they still must be compliant and issue a general certificate of conformity (GCC) for all appropriate items.
Additionally, not all children's products are eligible for third-party testing relief. Manufacturers must always receive outside testing for lead in paint and outside coatings, as well as for pacifiers, children's metal jewelry and other classes of items intended for infants and toddlers. Testing requirements which can be waived include lead in the substrate (as opposed to surface) of children's products, bicycles and children's sleepwear. A list of required and exempt categories is available on the CPSC's website.
Brent Stone, executive director - operations for the Quality Certification Alliance, the promotional products industry's only independent organization dedicated to product safety and compliance, was skeptical about the benefits of the Small Batch Manufacturer's Registry.
"It's highly unlikely that the CPSC will ever announce anything that relieves people from the responsibility of making sure a product is safe and compliant," he said. "And I don't know how you do that in our industry without testing."