• The CPSC will receive seven years of additional funds (beginning at $88.5 million in 2009).
• Third-party safety testing is now a requirement, and toys must be certified according
to standards developed by ASTM International.
• Manufacturers must label products with identifiers, to speed collection in the event of a recall.
On a grander scale, the implications of the reform is that it puts the United States in a position to pull unsafe products before they enter the distribution cycle, rather than having to constantly take a reactive stance in a recall situation. Manufacturers must now shoulder the burden of proof when it comes to product safety.
Though reform news has barely broken, suppliers were already in the process of renewing mission statements and making testing reports more widely available. It’s a function of doing business in today’s marketplace. However, as Lage is quick to mention, words are not enough. “Distributors should look past their suppliers’ letters and commitments for test results … [and] proactively seek out product-safety information,” he said.
Duffy currently makes testing documentation available for his customers, and noted suppliers should reach out to independent testing labs for the most reliable results (even more impetus to take his advice: it’s now the law).
In order to expedite this exchange between distributors and suppliers, Norwood has implemented Safety Search, an online library of testing reports for distributors. “They can type in a product number and get copies of our product test reports. We anticipate having the vast majority of our test reports loaded into Safety Search by the end of August,” Lage said. Though it is the first of its kind in the promotional products industry, he believes
it will be a growing trend moving forward.
A host of regulations and testing protocol—including those from the FDA, the CPSC as well as the Environmental Protection Agency—have been applied to the company’s product lines, depending upon the nature of the product and what standards apply to it, he explained. “At a minimum, we are asking the labs to test for 16 CFR 1303 total lead content (in paint and other surface coatings) and CA Prop 65 compliance,” Lage said. In addition, FDA requirements are used for food-and-drink items, and toys are tested for hazards such as soluble, heavy-metal content; choking hazards; and more under ASTM F963. ,