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Consumer Product Safety Commission Publishes Immediate final rule Regarding General Conformity Certifications Under CPSIA

November 28, 2008

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission ("CPSC") clarified the scope of new certification requirements for products under Section 14 of the Consumer Product Safety Act ("CPSA") and Section 102(a) of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 ("CPSIA"). Since the CPSIA was signed into law by President George W. Bush on August 14, 2008, companies have had to prepare for a series of new obligations rolled out on a very aggressive schedule. The Rule published by the CPSC acknowledges the difficulties facing companies and attempts to streamline the process, at least during this initial adjustment period under the new law.

Who Must Issue General Conformity Certifications?

While the CPSA and CPSIA impose the obligation to issue general conformity certifications on "every manufacturer" (defined to include importers), as well as private labelers, the CPSC has authority to limit the obligation to one or more of those categories of companies and relieve others. Under the new Rule, the CPSC does just that -- the sole parties required to issue general conformity certifications now include the actual manufacturer for domestic products and the importer for consumer products produced outside the U.S. Private labelers are left with no certification obligations under this new Rule.

What Is Required For The Certification?

Importers and domestic manufacturers must identify, for each product manufactured on or after November 12, 2008 that is introduced into the U.S. market, all CPSC rules, bans, standards, and regulations applying to that product, and must then certify that each such product complies with each applicable regulation. In addition, every required certification of compliance must be backed by a reasonable testing program.

The certification must include:

  • A specific identification of the product covered.
  • A citation to each CPSC product safety regulation for which the product is being certified, including a citation to Acts enforced by the CPSC other than the Consumer Product Safety Act.
  • Identification of, and updated contact information for, the importer or domestic manufacturer certifying its compliance.
  • Contact information for the individual maintaining records of test results on behalf of the importer or domestic manufacturer.
  • Date (including no less than the month and year) and place (including no less than the municipality and country) where the product was manufactured.
  • Street addresses are also required if there could be more than one facility used or operated by the same importer or manufacturer in the same municipality.
  • Date and place (including no less than the municipality and country) where the product was tested for compliance.
  • Identification of, and updated contact information for, any third-party laboratory involved in testing the certified products.

What Is The Form Of The Certification?

Those companies subject to the new certification requirements will be permitted to issue andfurnish the certification electronically. The new Rule permits internet-published certifications so long as the certification information:

  • Is created prior to the products it covers being available for inspection and is immediately available to the CPSC and/or customs inspectors as soon as that product is available for inspection; retailers.
  • Includes unique identifiers to enable government inspectors, distributors, and retailers to quickly locate certification information about the specific products covered by that certification.

Godfrey & Kahn will continue to closely monitor the emergence of these new CPSC rules in the weeks and months to come. If you have questions or concerns about how this new certification rule or other new CPSC rules may affect your business, please call Josh Johanningmeier (608) 284-2637 or
Adam Briggs at (608) 257-3911.

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If you have a media request or need an attorney with particular knowledge for comment, please contact Susan Steberl, Director of Marketing, at 414.287.9556 or ssteberl@gklaw.com.

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