Friday, August 14, 2009

CPSIA Updates - Tracking Lables for Children's Products

According to 'Consumer Product Improvement Act of 2008’ (CPSIA), Section 103 requires that; all manufacturers of children’s products must place permanent distinguishing marks on the product and its packaging to provide certain identifying information.
This section allows the Commission to require labels to include elements which will allow the manufacturer and the ultimate consumer to as certain:
• Manufacturer or private labeler (source of product)
• Date and place of manufacture
• Batch, run or lot number
• Other identifying characteristics

The permanent tracking label is required for all children’s products (up to age 12) and their packaging which are manufactured on or after August 14, 2009 (1). The aim of Section 103 is to provide for effective traceability of children’s products in the event of a recall and to allow the ultimate consumer to as certain traceable information of the product.

Congress indicated in the requirement that the tracking labels will be required “to the extent practicable”. This recognizes that it might not be practical to have a permanent label or mark on very small items. The tracking label must also be on the packaging of a product.

The new labeling provision requires that the tracking label must appear permanently on the product and any packaging. Therefore, placing the required information on hangtags or adhesive labels is not acceptable.

Therefore, some of the concerns are outlined below:
• Unclear provisions for items such as socks, gloves, small toys, jewelry items, etc where it is not practicable to use a permanent tracking label directly on the item.
• Batch’ number is not clearly defined.
• ‘Permanent’ and ‘permanently attached’ has not been clearly defined.
• Manufacturers need time to develop labels or other methods of marking that work for their individual products and situations once CPSC issue rules for implementing the tracking labels.

On 13 May, 2009, the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) denied the request for a stay of enforcement of the tracking label under section 103 ofthe CPSIA (3). Therefore, this provision will go into effect for items manufactured on or after August 14, 2009. The CPSC is currently working on guidance for tracking labels.

In general existing laws define a permanent label to be such that that it can not be removed without destroying or defacingthe label, and shall not be affixed to any part which is easily detached from the product and shall be affixed in a readily accessible position. The format and position of the label on the product is determined by the manufacturer.