CPSC Holds Public Hearing on Draft Guidance Document on CPSIA Testing and Certification Requirements

November 10, 2009

By Michelle L. Butler

Yesterday, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC” or “Commission”) held a public hearing on the draft guidance document proposed by the Commission staff regarding “Testing and Certification Requirements Under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008.”   The hearing was conducted via webcast and can be viewed here.  The hearing focused on the requirements for certification for consumer products, including children’s products, and did not discuss the applicability of the guidance document to Poison Prevention Packaging Act (“PPPA”)-regulated products.  During the hearing, the Commissioners asked many questions of the Commission staff regarding what was intended by portions of the guidance document and requested clarification on a number of issues in the next draft of the guidance document that will be submitted to the Commission.  For example, there appeared to be some confusion regarding certification for children’s products until the time that the CPSC has accredited third party conformity assessment bodies to conduct tests for particular standards (i.e., would a general certificate of conformity be required utilizing a “reasonable testing program” until such time as the CPSC has accredited entities to conduct third party testing for a particular standard, or will the requirement for certification as to that standard continue to be stayed until the CPSC has finished its accreditation process). 

In addition, a number of the questions posed by the Commissioners indicated a desire for the CPSC staff to make sure that the impact of the guidance document on small businesses is assessed and considered.

The Commissioners also mentioned a workshop that is scheduled for December 10-11, 2009 regarding testing, certification, and labeling pursuant to the certification requirements in section 14 of the Consumer Product Safety Act.  Interested parties are invited to participate, attend, or submit comments.

The Commissioners made no indication that the stay of enforcement of the CPSIA testing and certification requirements, which is now in place until February 2010, would be extended, but they did note that the stay can be lifted only upon the Commissioners’ vote.  They also noted that the Commission understands that a decision regarding the stay should be made sooner rather than later.
We will continue to monitor developments regarding the certification requirements, particularly as those requirements might affect PPPA-regulated products.

Categories: Miscellaneous