Seeking Solutions with SGS! CPSIA FAQ for Textile Industry
The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) affects everyone that manufactures, imports, or distributes apparel, footwear and other children's products into the United States. As this new regulation is complicated and certain significant questions are commonly raised out within textile and footwear industry, we have consolidated various questions that SGS received from recent seminars, webcasts and clients’ meeting for this FAQ preparation.
The answers to the questions included in this FAQ are based on SGS interpretations of the CPSIA, and the information share from CPSC, including their recent findings and publications. The information is not intended to be interpreted as official as CPSC or definitive technical or legal advice from SGS specific to any product or company.
This FAQ covers the following areas: Testing Tracking labels Certification General Questions TESTING Q: Is there any option to composite substrates or coatings?
A: The only composite testing that is allowed is to use more than one component of the exact same type in order to get enough samples to perform a test. If it takes 25 snaps to get enough coating scraped off in order to do the test, then all of the material may be combined together to perform the test. Combination of colors, different types of materials or any other type of compositing is NOT allowed. Tests must be done on finished components, so testing of wet paint is NOT allowed.
Q: Can we use current tests that have been done in the past? Do they have to have been done within a certain timeframe? For example, if we had a test done in 2006, is that valid now?
A: The CPSC does not give a length of time that testing reports are valid, but leaves it to each company to determine the validity period for testing based on their own reasonable testing program. Items that are manufactured before the mandatory third party testing date can have past test results used for compliance, as long as the date of the last testing fits into a “reasonable testing program”. The testing must apply to the same lot of items used in the final product that is covered by the compliance certificate.
Q: Do you expect to find Lead in textile substrates that are not printed?
A: Lead may be found in textile substrates depending on the dyeing and finishing processes. This might be especially true if metal complex catalyst based dyes or certain other chemicals are used in the dyeing and finishing processes. The leather finishing processes may also leave lead in the substrate. The CPSIA requires all substrates to be tested no matter what the potential would be for lead in the substrate.
Q: How is lead content in substrate evaluated if the product is a metal button with coating for infant garment?
A: For coated material tested for lead in substrate, the paint/coating must be totally removed from substrate. If 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 subject to the 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).
Q: Is the phthalates requirement ONLY for childcare items and toys and not for apparel?
A: The phthalates requirement in the CPSIA was previously set for toys and childcare items but it has reconsidered in putting children’s sleepwear as childcare items.
Q: How is apparel supposed to be labeled--as part of care label? Labeling has to be indelibly on item so labeling on packaging won't do-correct?
A: The tracking label must be permanently attached to the item and must remain legible for the life of the product. The tracking labels for apparel could be part of the care label since the care label has the same requirement for being permanently attached and legible for the life of the garment. Information solely on a hangtag, adhesive label or packaging would not be sufficient.
Q: Does the tracking label for children's products apply to wearing apparel for infant toddler and youth? What is the due date for this?
A: Yes, the tracking labels will apply to all Children’s apparel products including those for children 12 years of age and under. Tracking labels will be required on products manufactured on or after August 14, 2009.
Q. What are the recommended label placement suggestions from CPSC for children’s products including wearing apparel (i.e. in sewn label)?
A: The CPSC has not yet given guidelines about placement of tracking labels for children’s products. The tracking label must be permanent and legible for the life of the product.
Q: How long is a certificate valid for?
A: There is no date validation for the certificate. Each shipment requires a certificate indicating compliance for that specific style. For multiple deliveries of the same product, style, colors, supplier, processes, etc., the same certificate could be used taking into account the reasonable testing guidelines.
Q: Does certification apply only to children’s products or to all consumer products? If to all consumer products, how do I know if the items we made are under this certification regulation?
A: The certificate applies to all children’s products for regulations outlined in the CPSIA and to all consumer products that are subject to any of the other ACTS which the CPSC enforces. For example, any items subject to the Flammable Fabrics Act will need to have a general certificate of conformity. Adult apparel will need a general certificate of conformity since they are subject to the FFA.
Q: Who issues conformity certificates?
A: The conformity certificates must be issued by the US domestic manufacturer and the US importer. The information from both parties can be on one certificate. The certificate must have all of the correct information and a copy must be furnished to each distributor or retailer or both. The certificate must also “accompany” each product or shipment of products covered by the same certificate. The CPSC is considering different methods by which the certificate could “accompany” the goods during shipment. Such methods may include having a URL address printed on each carton so that when using the URL, it is easy to identify the certificate that pertains to the goods in the shipment, an only those goods. If such a method is not available, then a paper certificate must accompany the goods. Depending on how many different items are in a container, more than one certificate may be required and a certificate may be required for every box.
Q: What is the format for the certificate of conformity?
A: The information that needs to be on the certificate of conformity has been published on the CPSC website.The format is just given in an outline form. If a company desires, SGS can provide a format that would containthe information that is required by the CPSC.
Q: Can you advise what needs to be tested on adult wearing apparel?
A: Adult garments will need a certificate of conformity for self certification on 16 CFR 1610 Wearing Apparel Flammability. All items tested or exempt from testing need to have a certificate of conformity.
Q: Is the flammability requirement waived for adult clothing? Do you have any proof of this since things have been changing on a daily basis?
A. We are not aware of any change in this requirement. As far as we know all wearing apparel must meet flammability requirements, adults and children’s. Probably what they are referring to is 3rd party testing, which is only required for children’s products. Adult product will still need a certificate stating it complies with the FFA, but CPSC accredited third party testing is not mandatory.
Q: How can you determine the applicability of socks and hosiery to the flammability standard? Is it determined by weight of product or content or both?
A: Socks and hosiery are items that are covered by the Flammable Fabrics Act and need to comply with the Wearing Apparel Flammability Standard. Socks and/or hosiery might be exempt from testing due to weight or fiber content; however, they must still comply with the Standard. If they comply to the standard either by testing or by an exemption to testing, they will need to be listed on a certificate of conformity.
Q. Does packaging have to comply with the lead requirements?
A. CPSIA defines children’s products as those products intended primarily for use by children aged 12 and under. Packaging is generally not intended for use by children, given that most packaging is discarded and is not used or played with as a children’s product. However, if the packaging is intended to be reused, or used in conjunction with the children’s product, such as a reusable bag used to hold blocks, it becomes a component or part of the product, and would be subject to the lead requirements of CPSIA. It should also be noted that many individual U.S. States have adopted packaging laws which address toxics in packaging or packaging components and which have not been preempted by Commission action.
Q: Some retailers or buyers already have testing protocols in place. Do we need to have additional testing with the Third Party lab done for them as well?
A: All retailers will need to evaluate their current testing protocols and requirements to be sure that they include all testing that is needed to comply with the CPSIA. Some retailers are setting their requirements at lower levels than the currently required by the CPSIA in order to be sure they are prepared when the lower limits become required. Products must meet the CPSIA requirements as a minimum, but may have to meet stricter requirements to meet the retailers set protocols.
Q: Is Footwear being exempted from this Act? Do you think Apparel / Clothing would also be exempt?
A: Children’s Footwear is not exempt from CPSIA. Footwear is exempt from the Flammable Fabrics Act but still needs to comply with other safety regulations such as small parts, sharp points, sharp edges, lead in paint, lead in substrate. Since footwear is not a toy or a child care article, phthalate testing will not be required. The CPSC has not made any official statements about apparel being exempt from the CPSIA.
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SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 75,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,500 offices and laboratories around the world.