August 11, 2009

CPSC exempts 3rd party testing for textiles

Last week, the CPSC exempted (links to PDF) certain things from 3rd party testing for lead. Textiles and leather have been exempted from lead testing. By extension, dyes and some inks used in textile printing have been exempted. There are some big caveats though.

1. Screen prints, coatings, paints have not been exempted. This means apparel that has been treated this way will have to be tested.

2. Findings and trims, such as buttons, zippers, snaps, plastic components will have to be tested. Buttons made of bone or wood are exempted provided they use only coatings or finishes which are exempt.

3. Bling such as rhinestones and crystals are banned.

The CPSC took a component approach in issuing these exemptions. One can infer that the CPSC is seriously considering some kind of component testing allowance. It may or may not happen. The CPSIA, the actual text of the law, does not allow component testing. While it is a more common sense way to approach the problem, the realty is that this may open up the CPSC to lawsuits by special interest groups who do not want component testing.

Another concern is that the CPSC will be policing the market place. They will buy product and test it. Anything that fails, including exempted materials, will be subject to heavy fines and even jail time. It will be up to individual companies to decide whether they will continue to test or not. There is a liability problem for failing to comply to the exactness of the regulations.

Also remember that other regulations still apply. In particular, the tracking labels and phthalate testing (for certain products) are in force.


  1. Maria6:12 PM

    What drives me crazy about the tracking labels requirement is that NO ONE is able to give me a sample of what the tracking label should look like. How do we put it on the packaging? Does it mean it needs to be on the hang tag? Come on! Hang tags, labels, packaging, etc... are expensive and having to make them custom for every batch is going to put me out of business. Can I make a hang tag that has a space where I can add a sticker that has tracking info on it? I don't know where else to look for this info. Your thoughts?

  2. has some really useful information on this topic.