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Complying with the CPSIA Lead Limits: Guidance from the CPSC Staff


Last week, the Consumer Product Safety Commission ("CPSC") held two public meetings to discuss implementation of the lead paint and lead content limits in the new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 ("CPSIA"). These were popular meetings given the complexity of the lead limit provisions. These new provisions require certification and eventual third party testing on certain children's products to lead limits that will be reduced over time. The first deadline is November 12th for general conformity certification to the 600 ppm lead paint limit.

Senior officials from the CPSC provided the following insight to companies undertaking CPSIA compliance efforts:

Lead Meeting, Nov. 6th

  • Clarifications on Certification
    • Electronic certificates are acceptable so long as the Commission has reasonable electronic access (i.e., World Wide Web address or URL) and all the required information is provided.
    • Manufacturers can meet the "furnishing" requirement to distributors and retailers if they provide reasonable access to certificates such as with a WWW address or URL.
    • Certificates do not need to be signed or filed with the Commission.

  • Lead Paint Limit
    • The lead paint ban applies to: (1) paint and other similar surface coating; (2) toys and other articles intended for use by children; and (3) furniture articles for consumer use (excluding household items such as large and small appliances, bathroom fixtures, windows, doors, and window shades).
    • The lead paint limit does not apply to printing inks or materials actually bonded to the substrate like electroplating or ceramic glazing. (Note that children's products with these types of inks or electroplating will require lead content testing by February 10, 2009, in any event.)
    • The current lead paint limit is 600 ppm and will be lowered to 90 ppm on August 14, 2009.
    • General conformity certification is required for products covered by the lead paint limit as of November 12, 2008. Third party testing and certification will then be required as of December 21, 2008.

  • Lead Content Limit
    • All "children's products" (as defined by the CPSIA) subject to the lead limit will require testing for lead content by an accredited third party testing body on August 14, 2009, not just those with paint or surface coatings.
    • Children's products containing paint or similar surface coating will require testing and certification to both the lead paint and lead content limits as of August 14, 2009.
    • The lead limit applies to and testing must be done on any accessible part of a children's product (e.g., clasp on a children's necklace). For a part to be inaccessible, it must not be physically exposed through normal use and abuse. Paint, coatings, or electroplating on a part are insufficient to render a component part inaccessible for purposes of the lead limit. More guidelines from the CPSC on accessibility will be forthcoming in August 2009.
    • For the lead content limit, each accessible component part must be separately tested. The CPSC will be publishing methods for testing different materials and different methodologies for different substances.
    • The lead content limit of 600 ppm goes into effect on February 10, 2009, and will be lowered to 300 ppm on August 14, 2009.
    • Testing and general certification to the 600 ppm lead content limit is required for all children's products as of February 10, 2009. Third party testing by an accredited lab and certification to the 300 ppm lead content limit will be required for all children's products as of August 14, 2009.

XRF and Other Lead-Paint Testing Methodologies Meeting, Nov. 7th

  • XRF can be used for general conformity certification and spot-checking / quality assurance for lead paint, but, as there currently are no performance standards or standard operating procedures, the CPSC stated XRF is not acceptable for the third party testing and certification requirement.
  • The CPSC requires total lead content testing for the lead paint limit, not just solubility testing.

We will be monitoring the CPSC for additional guidance on all aspects of the CPSIA. The next CPSC public meeting is scheduled to be held on December 4th to discuss the phthalates bans.

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