September 30, 2009
CPSIA Special Edition
Latest Lead Determination on Component Materials
On August 19, 2009 the CPSC issued the first in what is hoped to be a series of determinations regarding books and other printed matter exemptions from the lead limits. When the CPSC makes a determination, it is declaring that a material does not inherently contain lead or does not contain lead that exceeds the lead content limits. As such any material that is covered by a determination is thus exempt from the lead limits and does not require testing and certification.
In the August 19, 2009 determination, the CPSC addressed some components of books and other printed materials. The components of books that are now exempt include the following:
- Any product printed with four color process inks (CMYK)
- Any product coated with varnish, water-based, or UV-cured coatings
- Threads used for book binding
- Animal-based glues
- Adhesives that are not accessible*
- Binding materials that are not accessible*
Despite the best efforts of Printing Industries, other trade associations, printer members, and suppliers, the CPSC did not include all of the components of books and other printed matter in this determination. The materials that are NOT covered by the current determination are:
- Spot or PMS inks
- Saddle stitching wire
- Non-animal-based glues that are accessible*
- Metal coils both coated and uncoated for coil-bound materials
- Plastic coils for coil-bound materials
- Foils used in foil stamping
If a material not covered by the current determination is used in a children's product, then it must be tested and certified to prove that it does not exceed the lead limit.
Printing industries will continue to work with the CPSC on obtaining additional determinations for the materials not covered under the one issued August 19, 2009. In addition, CPSC will be issuing a guidance document for the printing and publishing industry that will address what the determination means and what will be necessary for the industry to demonstrate compliance for the materials not covered by the initial determination.
* CPSC has ruled that any adhesive that is covered would not be subject to the lead requirements as it would be considered "inaccessible." Inaccessibility has been defined by the CPSC in a separate rule that can be found at http://www.cpsc.gov/PageFiles/88574/leadinaccessguide.pdf. The CPSC specifies that a component part is inaccessible if it is not physically exposed by reason of a sealed covering or casing and does not become physically exposed through reasonably foreseeable use and abuse of the product, including swallowing, mouthing, breaking, or other children's activities, and the aging of the product, as determined by the Commission. CPSC has established some tests that are to be used to determine accessibility.
Testing and Certification Requirements for Phthalates
Regarding phthalates, the CPSC has not issued any formal determinations that would exempt products or components from the limits, testing, and certification requirements. However, on August 7, 2009, the CPSC issued a statement of policy regarding the testing of component parts for the presence of the six regulated phthalates. The statement of policy can be found at http://www.cpsc.gov/PageFiles/126588/componenttestingpolicy.pdf and it requires manufacturers to test and certify they are meeting the phthalate limits if they know that one of the six regulated phthalates are being used in their product.
There is not a formal "label" per se, as the CPSC is requiring the children's product to be permanently marked with the required information. In implementing the CPSIA, the CPSC is not using a uniform "one-size-fits all" approach and is not specifying how such information should appear on the product. They do mandate distinguishing marks that identify:
- Location of production
- Date of production
- Cohort information (e.g., batch, run number, or other identifying characteristic)
There are several options to meet the requirements. One approach is to include all of the required information on the product. Another approach would be to use a "code number" that could be a combination of customer number and job number. The code number could be used to retrieve the required information. In using the code approach, the CPSC is requiring the manufacturer's identification along with city and state, as just a web address will not be sufficient, although a website address could be included.
CPSIA Update: Capitol Hill
The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection held a hearing titled, "Consumer Product Safety Commission Oversight: Current Issues and a Vision for the Future" on Thursday, September 10, 2009. Chairman Waxman (D-CA) who had been reluctant to hold a hearing, finally agreed to allow a subcommittee hearing on CPSIA implementation, but permitted only one witness-CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum-after rejecting industry and lawmaker requests for a second panel of industry representatives. The opening statements of Waxman and Subcommittee Chair Rush (D-IL), along with the written statement of CPSC Chairman Tenenbaum, may be found on the House Energy & Commerce website.
As is readily apparent from the respective chairmen's statements and the hearing's title, both Waxman and Rush downplayed the CPSIA issues, while the CPSC Chairman was content to report on her efforts to implement CPSIA and other future projects in a timely manner.
Nevertheless, there were important indications of bipartisan membership desire to revisit CPSIA for legislative revision. The push for this on the Republican side was not surprising, as the Subcommittee's ranking member, Joe Barton (R-TX), and next senior member, George Radanovich (R-CA), have long been on record as critical of the CPSIA and urging its amendment to permit serious risk analysis.
More surprising, and hopeful, however, was the torrent of questions to Chairman Tenenbaum from the full Committee's Chairman Emeritus, John Dingell (D-MI), who harked back to his letter to the Commission that posed numerous questions, including one about books. Dingell clearly pressed Tenenbaum hard on whether she thought some revisions in the law were necessary, relying in part on the response to his letter that indicated the CPSC staff thought some revisions were both necessary and appropriate. He promised to send Tenenbaum some follow-up questions, including some on books, so it will be interesting to see whether this is actually the beginning of an effort by Dingell, with support from committee republicans, to force consideration of CPSIA revision.
Unfortunately, the scheduled Senate Commerce Committee CPSIA hearing was cancelled prior to the August recess.
Printing Industries of America is pounding the pavement on Capitol Hill and explaining that the August 19th CPSC determination does not provide necessary relief and further determinations are needed for additional component materials. In the absence of CPSC relief, Printing Industries will support a legislative fix to the CPSIA.
For More Information
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This article is an update to previous articles: