What is CPSC and why does it matter?
CPSC is a federal agency known as Consumer Product Safety Commission. Similar to the FDA monitoring drugs, foods and cosmetics, CPSC’s mission according to their website is to “protect the public against unreasonable risks of injuries and deaths associated with consumer products.” In short, they enforce and monitor flammability and lead requirements for all children toys and clothing, as well as ensure that all requirements to components and labeling are met. Furthermore, CPSC closely monitors any potential recalls that may occur. Buying a compliant clothing item or toy means that the craftsman has been educated on and is following all regulations to ensure the product is safe for use.
What is a Small Batch Manufacturer and are you one?
Under law, all manufacturers of children’s products (whether toys, clothing, blankets or teething toys, for example) must have their products tested by a third party to certify that they are indeed meeting all the outlined regulations to be compliant and safe. However, there are certain exceptions for small businesses that can register as a Small Batch Manufacturer. YES, I have registered my business as a Small Batch Manufacturer, allowing me exemption from certain third party testing, as long as I can obtain the necessary certifications from the manufacturer of the product I am using and I take precautions to follow all compliancy rules to ensure that all of my products are made according to the compliancy laws.
Why does everyone keep talking about testing requirements and what are they?
Testing the various components of a finished product for flammability, lead, BPA, and phthalate content, for example, ensures that an item is safe to use for children and their health is not put at risk.
CPSC regulations do not require any testing for lead in natural fibers, such as cotton, as the materials are not exposed to any lead in the manufacturing process.
After thorough testing, polyester and nylon have been moved to the exempt material list.
Snaps, zippers and PUL (which I use in my reusable food bags and my wet bags) have to be tested for lead, BPA and phthalate content if they are going to be incorporated in any way into a children’s product.
Smooth, woven and knit fabrics do not require any testing for flammability if they are over 2.6oz per square yard.
However, flammability testing is required for all fabrics with pile (a fuzzy surface – such as flannel for example) if the material will be used in a children’s item.
I only use materials that are exempt or have certification of testing deemed safe to use in any of my products, whether they are children or adult items.
How can I know if a small business is CPSC compliant?
Simply ask 🙂 Those of us that have gone through the rigorous process are proud of it and will tell you so. Most businesses will have a statement on their website or listing that says “Meets CPSC Safety Requirements,” although that is NOT required.
You should also be able to tell by an item whether or not it has been made under CPSC requirements, as those items are required to have a permanently attached label with the exception of very small or reversible items (in which case a hang tag will suffice) with the following information:
- Name of the manufacturer (generally, a business logo or business name will suffice)
- Contact information to the manufacturer (website, email address or the link to an etsy shop for example)
- Location of the manufacturer (City and State)
- Date of completion (you may often find the date included in the listed Batch ID)
- Fiber content where required (this is not necessarily required on the permanently attached label, but can also be found on the hang tag)
- Care instructions (only required for wearing apparel)
- a unique number (Batch ID) so you are able to follow recall instructions should that occur.
If you have any further questions on the CPSC, please don’t hesitate to visit their website or reach out to me!
Thank you for supporting a small business!