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After completing its review of testing and labeling regulations for children’s products, staff of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommended leaving the current product testing and component part testing regulations as is. The CPSC carried out this review of the “Testing and Labeling Regulations Pertaining to Product Certification of Children’s Products, Including Reliance on Component Part Testing” (testing rule) under section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), which requires a review 10 years after publication for any rule that has a significant impact on a substantial number of small businesses. Along with 16 C.F.R. part 1109, “Conditions and Requirements for Relying on Component Part Testing or Certification, or Another Party’s Finished Product Certification, to Meet Testing and Certification Requirements” (component part testing rule), the testing rule was up for review this year, as both rules do have a significant impact on many small businesses.

The testing rule lays out rules and standards for manufacturers to follow in obtaining third party testing for children’s products periodically and when there has been a material change in a product’s design or manufacturing process. It also specifies how products may be labeled to indicate compliance with Section 14 of the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA). The component part testing rule specifies how manufacturers can use third party tests of component parts of products to certify the compliance of the finished product. The component part testing rule was intended to reduce the costs and other burdens of testing finished children’s products.

Section 610 requires agencies to consider five factors in reviewing rules to minimize any significant economic impact of the rule on small entities:

  1. The continued need for the rule;
  2. The nature of complaints or comments received concerning the rule from the public;
  3. The complexity of the rule;
  4. The extent to which the rule overlaps, duplicates, or conflicts with other Federal rules, and, to the extent feasible, with State and local governmental rules; and
  5. The length of time since the rule has been evaluated or the degree to which technology, economic conditions, or other factors have changed in the area affected by the rule.

Following an analysis of the feedback received by staff during the 60-day public comment period and after considering the five factors, the CPSC concluded that no changes to the testing and component part testing rules were warranted at this time. The Commission acknowledged that the costs of third-party testing for compliance certification still pose significant costs on some small businesses, but rejected requests for test burden relief, such as reducing the required frequency of periodic testing or revising the definition of small batch manufacturer, as either inconsistent with ensuring compliance or precluded by statute. The CPSC did note that additional guidance on using the component part testing rule could help small businesses use the rule to reduce their costs. Input from children’s product companies on that point may be useful in developing approaches that achieve both compliance and cost reduction goals.

To learn more about current product safety issues and regulatory considerations for connected devices, register now for our free webinar: Product Safety and Regulation of Connected Products, June 24 at noon.