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CPSC Changes Test Method, Standard Operating Procedure for Determining Lead in Paint and Other Similar Surface Coating To Permit Compositing


On April 26, 2009, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a new test method, CPSC-CH-E1003-09, for use in measuring the total lead content of paint and surface coating to determine compliance with 16 C.F.R. § 1303 and the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA). The CPSC's testing laboratory will now use this method, but outside laboratories and testing bodies are not required to use this or any specific operating procedure in testing paint and similar surface coatings for lead. The CPSC also notes that this new operating procedure does not alter existing laboratory accreditations.

The new test method permits compositing of paint and surface coating when conducting lead testing, a marked departure from the CPSC's prior statements on compositing. Previously, the CPSC's position was that compositing during testing - combining different paints or coatings to reduce the number of tests run - was not acceptable. The CPSC's new test method now permits composite testing of different parts, "combining different paints (e.g., multiple colors) from one or more samples to reduce the number of digestions and instrumental lead analyses performed." The new operating procedure warns that this type of compositing of different paints "must be done with adequate care, planning, and understanding of the limitations and propagations of error in measurements or the test may fail to detect excessive lead in one individual paint because of dilution." The CPSC's new Operating Procedure offers guidance on how to avoid these risks and provides an example demonstrating how to properly calculate test results for composited samples.

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