Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA)

CPSC is a federal organization that protects consumers from harmful products in the USA. Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) is a landmark consumer product safety law amended by this organization in 2008. What does the CPSIA regulate?

What is CPSIA? Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act

CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) was established in 1972 under the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA). In 2008, the law was amended and renamed to Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.

US manufacturers and importers are required to ensure their products (within the scope) comply with the CPSIA requirements.

What is the difference between the Consumer Product Safety Act and the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act?

The CPSIA, in comparison to CPSA:

  • increased the budget of the Consumer Product Safety Commission
  • broadened the scope of the CPSC’s enforcement
  • increased fines and specifies jail time for some violations
  • imposed new testing and documentation requirements
  • set new acceptable levels of several substances
  • imposed new requirements on manufacturers of shoes, apparel, personal care products, accessories and jewelry, toys, home furnishings, bedding, electronics and video games, educational materials, school supplies, books, and science kits.

CPSIA regulation

Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) is a regulation that was put into force to address, among other things:

1. toy safety (ASTM F963)

US importers and manufacturers must test children’s products to ensure they do not contain hazardous substances like lead and phthalates and comply with toy safety requirements.

If you do not prove that your product is safe, you can be imposed a fine that can reach $100,000 per individual violation ($15 million max), as well as the possibility of asset forfeiture and imprisonment of up to five years.

You can see ASTM F 963-17 requirements on the official CPSC website.

What is a children’s product in the US?

The CPSIA is mainly targeted toward “children’s products.” The term “children’s product” means a consumer product designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger. In determining whether a consumer product is primarily intended for a child 12 years of age or younger, the following factors will be considered:

  1. A statement by a manufacturer about the intended use of such product, including a label on such product, if such statement is reasonable.
  2. Whether the product is represented in its packaging, display, promotion, or advertising as appropriate for use by children 12 years of age or younger.
  3. Whether the product is commonly recognized by consumers as intended for use by a child 12 years of age or younger.
  4. The Age Determination Guidelines issued by the Commission staff in September 2002, and any successor to such guidelines.

A childcare product is a consumer product designed or intended by the manufacturer to facilitate sleep or the feeding of children age 3 and younger or help children age 3 and younger with sucking or teething.

Note: Shoes and socks are not considered children’s toys or childcare articles.

2. durable infant/toddler products, nursery products

All durable infant or toddler products must meet certain children’s product safety requirements, such as:

  • lead in surface coatings
  • lead content
  • phthalate content (in certain circumstances)
  • mandatory testing at a CPSC-accepted laboratory
  • certification
  • registration cards
  • tracking labels and other markings.

Mandatory standards were set for play yards, bath seats, portable bed rails, infant walkers and toddler beds, high chairs, booster chairs, hook-on chairs; gates and other enclosures; stationary activity centers; infant carriers; strollers; walkers; swings; and bassinets and cradles, changing tables, infant bathtubs, and infant slings.

3. lead in children’s products

Any children’s product that contains more lead than 100 ppm (parts per million) will be treated as a banned hazardous substance under the Federal Hazardous Substances.

The limit of lead allowed in surface coatings or paint in durable infant or toddler products is 90 ppm. Previously, the limit was 600 ppm.

4. harmful phthalates

It is prohibited to manufacture for sale, distribute in commerce, or import any children’s toy or childcare article/durable infant or toddler product that contains the phthalates:

  • di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP)
  • dibutyl phthalate (DBP)
  • benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP)
  • diisononyl phthalate (DINP)
  • di-n-pentyl phthalate (DPENP)
  • diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP)
  • di-n-hexyl phthalate (DHEXP)
  • dicyclohexyl phthalate (DCHP)

at levels higher than 0.1% (each).

Consumer products

5. tracking labels in the US

The US manufacturer of domestic products and the importer of overseas products are responsible for compliance with the tracking label requirement. The tracing labels (distinguishing permanent marks) must be visible and legible. In most instances, both the packaging and the product must be marked.

All tracking labels must contain certain basic information, such as:

  • the manufacturer or private labeler name
  • location and date of production of the product
  • detailed information on the manufacturing process, such as a batch or run number, or other identifying characteristics
  • any additional information to facilitate ascertaining the specific source of the product.

6. third-party testing and certification

Every manufacturer of a product subject to a consumer product safety rule has to provide a “General Conformity Certificate” (GCC) to certify, based on unit testing or a reasonable testing program, that the product complies with all safety rules.

Children’s Product Certificate is issued for children’s products and durable infant or toddler products.

The certificate must be in English and list:

  • the name, address, and phone number of the manufacturer, importer, and/or private labeler issuing the certificate and any third-party testing facility
  • the date and place of manufacture and date and place of testing
  • the contact information of the records keeper
  • each applicable rule, standard, and ban.

These certificates must accompany the product through the distribution chain through the retailer. You must provide the CPSC with the document during any inspection.

See the list of CPSC-accepted testing laboratories.

7. imports

The terms “import” and “importation” include reimporting a consumer product manufactured or processed, in whole or in part, in the United States. Your product will not be admitted into the US customs territory if it:

  • fails to comply with an applicable consumer product safety rule
  • is not accompanied by a label/certificate required by this Act or any other Act enforced by the Commission, or is accompanied by a false certificate
  • is or has been determined to be an imminently hazardous consumer product
  • has a product defect that constitutes a substantial product hazard
  • is a product manufactured by a person who the Commission has informed the Secretary of the Treasury is in violation of subsection.

According to the Act, the Commission developed a plan for sharing information and coordinating with US Customs and Border Protection. It means that the CPSC can address product safety at the USA ports.

8. all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and CPSIA

The term “all-terrain vehicle” or “ATV” means:

  • any motorized, off-highway vehicle designed to travel on 3 or 4 wheels, having a seat designed to be straddled by the operator and handlebars for steering control; but
  • does not include a prototype of a motorized, off-highway, all-terrain vehicle or other motorized, off-highway, all-terrain vehicle intended exclusively for research and development purposes unless the vehicle is offered for sale.

Each ATV has to comply with all applicable provisions of the American National Standard for Four-Wheel All-Terrain Vehicles (ANSI/SVIA 1-2017).

9. civil criminal penalties – what if you are not CPSIA compliant?

The Act imposed and increased fines and jail time penalties and mandates coordination with the CPSC when effecting a manufacturer’s product recall. In case of failure to report possible product hazards to the CPSC in a timely manner, the civil penalty ranges from $5,000 per violation ($1,825,000 max) to $100,000 per violation ($15 million max).

The criminal penalties of prohibited acts include forfeiture of assets and imprisonment for up to five years. The CPSC does not have to notify the company of noncompliance before imposing criminal penalties.

10. is an open-access database. The database contains reports of unsafe products on the US market. Consumers, agencies, health care professionals, child service providers, and public safety entities can directly submit complaints on the site. Manufacturers and private labelers can submit comments related to the reports of harm.

What is CPSIA compliant?

If you import children’s products to the US, you must issue a certificate of compliance. In order to do that, you need to implement compliance testing.

Here are some key requirements and actions that US toy importers need to take regarding CPSIA:

  1. Third-party testing: Importers must ensure that toys comply with applicable safety standards by performing third-party testing via a CPSC-accredited laboratory.
  2. Certification: Importers are required to produce a Children’s Product Certificate (CPC) for each toy they import. Such document states that the product complies with all applicable safety rules, standards, and regulations enforced by the CPSC.
  3. Tracking labels: Toys must have permanent tracking labels affixed to them, containing information such as:
    • the manufacturer’s name
    • location
    • production batch information.
  4. Lead and phthalate Content: Importers must ensure that their products meet requirements regarding the amount of lead and phthalates in toys intended for children aged 12 and under.
  5. Banning certain chemicals: Aside from lead and phthalates, CPSIA bans certain flame retardants from being used in children’s products.
  6. Small parts regulations: Toys for children under 36 months must comply with small parts regulations to prevent choking hazards.
  7. Stay informed: If you import products covered by CPSIA, stay informed about any updates or changes to the regulations to ensure ongoing compliance.
  8. Record keeping: Importers must maintain records demonstrating compliance with CPSIA regulations for at least five years.

Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in a nutshell

Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) made consumer products safer, especially toys and infant products. The Act created the first comprehensive publicly accessible consumer incident database in the USA and increased civil penalties for violating CPSC laws. Moreover, CPSC can address product safety at the USA ports. The amendment significantly improved product safety in the US market.