The Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) has issued a final rule which amends its regulations on testing and labeling pertaining to certification of children’s products.
Specifically, the final rule requires the selection of “representative” samples of children’s products for periodic testing by accredited third party testing labs. The final rule is effective on February 8, 2013 and applies to products manufactured after that date.
The CPSC defines a representative sample “as one that provides the manufacturer with a basis for inferring the compliance of the untested units of the product population from the tested units.” In order words, the manufacturer must have a basis for concluding that the representative sample is the same as the untested units of the children’s product produced during that same period.
The CPSC notes that various methods can be used to determine whether the selected samples are representative. For example, the final rule states that “a sample selected from a homogeneous material, such as a well mixed container of paint, could be considered representative of the entire container.” Other examples of acceptable methods include inspecting raw materials or component parts; generating process control data during the manufacturing process; using intrinsically uniform manufacturing techniques (such as die casting); and random sampling (e.g., simple random sampling, cluster sampling, systematic sampling, stratified sampling, and multistage sampling).
Records documenting representative sample selection and testing must be maintained for five years. Documentation must include the number of representative samples selected; how the samples were selected; the basis for inferring compliance of the untested units; and the test results.