11 March 2016
CPSC to Exercise Enforcement Discretion on Compliance Certificates for Low-Risk Adult Apparel
The Consumer Product Safety Commission on 24 February unanimously adopted a proposal that Commissioner Joe Mohorovic said will free businesses from having to create compliance certificates for adult clothing made from fabrics that the CPSC says are inherently safe and compliant. Mohorovic said the change should save businesses US$250 million a year and that he hopes the CPSC will now turn to reducing the burden associated with third-party testing and certification rules for children’s products.
The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 requires a manufacturer or importer of a product subject to a CPSC rule to certify, based on a test or reasonable testing programme, that the product complies with that rule. Ordinary adult apparel is subject to a single rule, the flammability standards established under the Flammable Fabrics Act. However, the CPSC has also established a list of fabrics that it has determined will necessarily and consistently meet the flammability standard. These include (i) plain surface fabrics, regardless of fibre content, weighing 2.6 ounces per square yard or more, and (ii) all fabrics, both plain surface and raised-fibre surface textiles, regardless of weight, made entirely from any of the following fibres or combinations thereof: acrylic, modacrylic, nylon, olefin, polyester and wool.
In light of that determination, effective 25 March the CPSC will not pursue compliance or enforcement actions against importers, manufacturers or private labellers for failure to certify or to issue, provide or make available to the CPSC a general conformity certificate with respect to adult wearing apparel that is exempt from testing because it is made entirely from one or more of the listed fabrics. This enforcement discretion will not apply to any adult apparel not meeting this criterion, and any relevant misrepresentation or omission could result in compliance or enforcement action and potential criminal and/or civil penalties. In addition, these products must still comply with all flammability requirements under the FFA and failure to do so will still subject the products to enforcement action.