As the labeling requirement deadline approaches in August, many children’s product makers have been questioning whether or not they have to label their product. And many are confusing the testing issue with the labeling issue. I hope this will clarify a few points.
Does my product have to be labeled?
Your children’s product must be labeled. See my blog post on What Are Children’s Products here. Labeling issues and testing issues are separate. The label does not indicate that the product has been tested using the guidelines set forth by the CPSC in the CPSIA. The label is essentially a tracking device so that the consumer can identify where the product came from and when appropriate, the CPSC can issue recalls for those products.
Please note, that textiles have additional requirements for labeling. These requirements have been in place for years under the Textile and Wool Acts, long before CPSIA. Here is a link to the FTC website regarding labeling for textiles: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/business/textile/bus21.shtm
A good resource regarding textiles is the Fashion Incubator. Good information regarding labeling requirements for garments can be found there.
Can I attach a hang tag as a label?
No, permanent labels are required under CPSIA. Unfortunately, a sticker or hangtag is not acceptable.
What goes on my label?
According to what the CPSC has set forth currently, “The tracking label must contain certain basic information, including the source of the product, the date of manufacture and more detailed information on the manufacturing process such as a batch or run number. The scope of this provision is quite broad in that it applies to all children’s products, including, but not limited to, items such as clothing or shoes not just toys and other regulated products. Congress modified the requirement for tracking labels with the phrase “to the extent practicable” recognizing that it may not be practical for permanent distinguishing marks to be printed on small toys and other small products that are manufactured and shipped without individual packaging.”
The quoted information comes directly from the CPSC website. More specific labeling guidelines have not yet been issued by the CPSC. Though I hope they are to come as they are sorely needed. Here is the FAQ from the CPSC on tracking labels: http://www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/faq/faq.html#sect103
Are labeling requirements retroactive?
No. As it stands right now, you only have to label your products manufactured on or after August 14, 2009. I don’t take much comfort in this due to what was seen previously when the phthalate testing deadline came to pass. Previously it was also ruled that phthalate testing would not be retroactive. In the eleventh hour, this ruling was overturned in court. So I continue to remind myself that although it is not retro-active at this time, this may change.