CPSC Votes to Seek Ways to Reduce Third Party Testing Costs in 2014

November 25, 2013 | On November 20th, Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) commissioners voted 4-0 to include an amendment in the CPSC’s 2014 Operating Plan that would require the agency to seek ways to reduce third party testing costs for toy and children’s product manufacturers.

As outlined in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), all products sold in the U.S. must be third party tested for compliance with federal standards and regulations; however, in 2011
Congress mandated that the CPSC find ways to reduce redundant third party testing costs for lead and other hazardous substances while maintaining safety compliance. 

Since that time, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) has advocated on behalf of the toy industry for CPSC to pursue or implement cost-reduction opportunities, meeting with CPSC commissioners and providing data and test reports that support the toy industry’s position that certain materials found in toys are so unlikely to contain restricted materials that they should not require routine testing, although they must continue to comply with the relevant requirements.

“We are pleased that the CPSC has unanimously voted to allocate staff resources to find a solution to the issue of unnecessary third party testing costs in the coming year,” said Ed Desmond, TIA executive vice president of external affairs. “This is an important issue for many toy companies, which produce compliant products with safe materials that should not need to undergo additional testing.”

As part of its plans to reduce testing costs, the CPSC will work to expand the list of materials that will not need to be routinely tested for the six banned phthalates and/or heavy metals in the ASTM F963 Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety. The Commission also approved an amendment to the Operating Plan that would put into place a system allowing the CPSC, on a case-by-case basis, to consider testing equivalencies for requirements of non-US standards as another way to reduce third party testing costs.

In order for the CPSC to determine that certain materials will not need to be third party tested, the agency requires data and test reports indicating that the materials do not contain the banned substances in ASTM F963. TIA members with such test reports (material type must be identified) are encouraged to send them to toysafety@toyassociation.org. TIA will redact specific company information before sending the data to the CPSC.

TIA will continue to monitor this topic and keep members apprised of any developments.