What is CPSIA?

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) was signed into law in August 2008.  Congress passed the law in response to public concern about the safety of consumer products—particularly children’s products—which grew after several high profile recalls of toys and other products manufactured in China.  The CPSIA is the most significant revision to the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) since its inception in the early 1970s.  The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) implements consumer product laws in the U.S., which apply to U.S. entities.

The CPSIA includes provisions related to lead, phthalates, recalls and product tracking, testing and certification of consumer product safety rules and standards, toy advertising, a public database of deaths and injuries caused by consumer products, penalties for violations, whistleblower protections, and other issues.   Non-compliance with the statute or its implementing regulations has the potential to result in huge product liability problems, including civil penalties, recalls, and encouragement for lawsuits.

Requirements are still in place under the original CPSA and related laws (e.g., the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA), Poison Prevention Packaging Act (PPPA), and Labeling of Hazardous Art Materials Act (LHAMA)).  The CPSIA added testing and certification requirements to strengthen implementation of some of the standards and requirements under these earlier laws.

Manufacturers (which include importers) need to fully understand how any CPSC requirements apply to their products.  Suppliers of components of consumer products also need to understand the CPSC laws and what responsibilities they may have.  Even if a supplier is not directly subject to a requirement, they may be affected when a customer requests information that the customer deems necessary for their own compliance.

Congress included aggressive implementation dates in the CPSIA, and the CPSC was not adequately staffed to implement the legislation.  This has resulted in much confusion including multiple and inadequate drafts of policies and memos, delays in translating legislative requirements into rulemaking, lack of clarity on effective dates, and multiple and serial stays of enforcement.

Government information on consumer product safety topics, including the CPSIA, is available on the CPSC Website.

Testing and Certification


CPSIA §102

Manufacturers of children’s products subject to a CPSC standard must issue a certificate of conformity based on third-party testing by an accredited independent testing laboratory.

Manufacturers of non-children’s products subject to a CPSC standard must issue a certificate based on either a test of each product, or a reasonable testing program.

  • CPSC has decided that products that require labeling under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA) or labeling rules will not require certification.
  • The general certificates of conformity are required for special categories of products that are not likely to be Avery Dennison products (e.g., all terrain vehicles, bicycles, bunk beds, carpets, fireworks, lawnmowers, and others).

Each certificate of conformity must specify:

  • the manufacturer or importer issuing the certificate and any third party on whose testing the certificate and any third party on whose testing the certificate depends, by name, address and phone;
  • each applicable standard, ban, etc.;
  • the date and place where the product was manufactured and date and place of testing; and
  • contact information for person maintaining test records.

Availability of certificates

  • Certificates must accompany each product or shipment of products covered by the same certificate.
  • A copy of the certificate must be furnished to each distributor or retailer of the product.  Electronic form is acceptable, but the certificate must be readily accessible from information on the product.
  • A copy of the certificate must be made available to the Commission and Customs upon request.

Manufacturers and private labelers may indicate on the product label: Meets CPSC Safety Requirements when the manufacturer or private labeler has met certification requirements.  Regulations specify the size and font of the label.

Reasonable Testing Program


For products that are not children’s products, but are subject to a CPSC standard, a manufacturer or importer must provide a certification of compliance based on a reasonable testing program. A reasonable testing program provides a high degree of assurance that the consumer products covered by the program will comply with applicable rules, bans, standards, or regulations.

high degree of assurance means an evidence-based demonstration of consistent performance of a product regarding compliance based on knowledge of a product and its manufacture.

A reasonable testing program must consist of the following elements:

  • Product specification, with a separate specification for each manufacturing site.
  • Certification tests, conducted on samples of the product that are identical to the finished product in all material respects.
  • Production testing plan, describing tests to be performed and frequency of testing.
  • Remedial action plan, describing steps to be taken when a sample fails.
  • Recordkeeping related to all of the above.

The materials available and information provided at the Avery Dennison ADvantage: Complete Compliance site are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.

Tracking Labels


CPSIA §103

Provisions on tracking labels require “distinguishing marks” on all children’s products and their packaging.

The marking labels:

  • Must allow the manufacturer to ascertain the location and date of production, cohort information (including the batch, run number, or other identifying characteristic), and any other information determined by the manufacturer to facilitate ascertaining the specific source of the product; and
  • Must allow the ultimate purchaser to ascertain the manufacturer or private labeler, location and date of production of the product, and cohort information (including the batch, run number, or other identifying characteristic).

The purpose of the marking requirement is to facilitate recalls.  CPSC does not specify any particular system or format of marking. Manufacturers are responsible for making a reasonable judgment about what information can be marked on their product and packaging.

  • Marks must be visible, legible, and reasonably expected to remain on the product for its life.
  • The expectation is that both packaging and product will be marked, unless not practicable.  Circumstances in which it might not be practicable to mark the product itself include very small products, individual pieces in a set, items sold in bulk through vending machines, products that would be damaged by marking, products with surfaces that can’t be marked permanently, and cases in which a mark would ruin the aesthetic of the product.
  • The manufacturer/importer of the children’s product is responsible for compliance.


The materials available and information provided at the Avery Dennison ADvantage: Complete Compliance site are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.


Other Toy Requirements


CPSIA §105

Addresses advertising for toys and games.  For toys or games that are required to contain a label, or cautionary statement, regarding choking hazards, advertising for these products that provides a direct means of purchase or order of the product must contain an appropriate cautionary statement.

  • When a product’s packaging requires a cautionary statement, the advertising for the product, including Internet sites and catalogues, must bear the same cautionary statement.
  • There are requirements as to the layout, type, language, color, and placement of the statement.

Note that under the original CPSA authority, CPSC has promulgated a number of standards for toys.

The materials available and information provided at the Avery Dennison ADvantage: Complete Compliance site are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.