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May 2010
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CPSC to Take Another Look at Costs for Small Businesses

In our “New Safety Regulations Expected to Hurt Mom Based Garment Industry” post last year we discussed the federal requirements mandated by Congress in Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) and the impact that it would have on small businesses.  The new law was created in response to the alarming number of issues with lead being found in imported products, but it also has created new burdensome and expensive requirements for businesses that make sewn children’s products.  As we explained last year,

“Children’s “sewn products” include stuffed animals, books, bedding, diapers, slippers, shoes, pajamas and clothing.  Traditionally, all the components that make up these items – buttons, fabric, sequins, grommets and the like – are all tested before a finished item is produced.  The new law requires that each finished item be tested by a third party verifier.  So if you’re creating a line of diapers in five different fabrics, some with snaps and some with hook and loop closures, you could potentially be required to have testing done on ten different styles of diapers, rather than just on the components.  Obviously, this change would make it cost prohibitive for the typical mom and pop (or mom and mom) operation to launch any new products.”

The good news now is that the Consumer Product Safety Commission voted yesterday to

“begin writing a rule to allow manufacturers, big and small, to essentially break the required testing process for lead, lead paint and other potential dangers into parts.”

This proposed rule would mean that manufacturers could rely on their suppliers to perform safety testing on the components of their products such as zippers, snaps and buttons, instead of having to take care of the expense and paperwork involved with testing themselves.  Small businesses everywhere are heaving a huge sigh of relief after working for the past two years to get the law changed, but keep in mind that the final rule, if approved, won’t be ready until this fall and it could be up to six months after that before the law takes effect.  We’ll keep you informed when there is new information!

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