Screen Printing - February/March 2016 - (Page 16)

bu s i n e s s p e r s p e cti ves ARE YOU CONFUSED ABOUT CPSIA REGULATIONS? Eight years after the landmark safety legislation was enacted, questions and controversies remain. Marcia Y. Kinter Marcia Y. Kinter is VP of government and business information with SGIA. She represents association members before federal and state regulatory agencies and the US Congress on environmental, safety, labor, trade, and other issues directly impacting specialty printing businesses. Kinter is a member of the Academy of Screen and Digital Printing Technologies. T he Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), enacted in August 2008, is still causing a great deal of confusion among specialty printers who manufacture children's products. Many misunderstand what the regulatory puzzle means and who is responsible for which piece. Amendments that were passed in August 2011 did little to clarify the matter. And the CPSIA isn't going away. Last December, President Obama signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, which contains a provision appropriating $1,000,000 in funds (available until September 2017) for the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) to reduce the costs of complying with the third-party testing requirement for certification of children's products, a key element in the 2011 legislative amendments. While CPSC has taken small steps down this path, much work still remains to be accomplished. Small Steps One of the most confusing aspects of the regulations remains the use of what's known as component part testing, which allows companies that manufacture products such as children's printed apparel to test individual elements of a product (the ink, for example) in order to be certified rather than the product itself. The regulation gives companies that manufacture (meaning print, in the case of printed apparel) or import such goods the option of doing the testing themselves or relying upon tests conducted by a third party (such as the company that manufactured the ink), provided they complied with all CPSC regulatory requirements. This is obviously a key distinction for a garment or promotional products decorator, because the availability of acceptable third-party tests could lessen the burden of testing. Some complained that the regulatory language was not flexible enough to allow for component part testing for the solubility of specified chemicals used on toy substrates, with the exception of testing the lead and phthalate content of paint. CPSC has issued new regulatory language specifically stating that component part testing may be used beyond lead and phthalate content. But an important word on component part testing for the garment decoration community: It's not mandatory. The manufacturer of the final product purchased by the consumer is the party responsible for ensuring that the product complies with the lead and/or phthalate content limits. The ink manufacturer is not required to provide testing information because the printer is ultimately responsible for compliance and providing the children's product certificate. 16 screenprinting Another Small Step The CPSC also included a section listing categories of products and materials that are exempt from lead testing under the CPSIA, stating that "textiles (excluding after-treatment applications, including screen prints, transfers, decals, or other prints)" were exempt from the third-party testing requirements for lead. The exemption language is really confusing, partly because the most important clause for our industry is in parentheses. What it's saying is that, while the textile itself is exempt from testing requirements, the decorations (screen printed or otherwise) are not - for most of us, not favorable language. But the phrase "or other prints" prompted additional questions. In another final rule, the Commission amended the provisions to clarify that dyed textiles, regardless of the techniques used to produce and apply the colorants, are not subject to the required testing for lead. In amending the language, the Commission stated that the process used to manufacture, print, or apply colorants is not the defining factor. The central issue remains whether or not the textile products are dyed or include other non-dye finishes. Those products, where the nondye substances do not become a part of the fabric matrix but remain, as defined by the CPSC, a surface coating, are subject to the testing required for children's products by the CPSIA. This regulatory amendment codifies the long-held policy of the CPSC regarding scrapable and nonscrapable coatings. Remember, in the CPSC regulatory world, our ink systems are considered surface coatings. When a surface coating can be scraped off, then it must be tested to ensure compliance with the lead content limit. The key words remain "part of the fabric matrix." It can be argued that garments that undergo dye sublimation or use discharge inks are exempt from the testing requirements. However, even if your product is exempt from testing, you must still comply with all other CPSIA requirements, including labels. Confused? Many printers are. More than seven years after the legislation was enacted, there still does not appear to be visible enforcement by the CPSC on products manufactured within the US. The majority of the violations are found at the point of entry for imports, and primarily involve tracking labels and thirdparty certificates. Tracking labels are another common source of confusion. Their purpose is to provide direct information to the

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Screen Printing - February/March 2016

Screen Printing - February/March 2016
Editorial Insights
Pressing Issues
New Products
Are You Confused about CPSIA Regulations?
Clothing Becomes Electric
The Power of Pigment
Understanding the Garment: Selection, Testing, and Prep
Distributor/Dealer Directory
Ad Index
Who’s in Charge here?

Screen Printing - February/March 2016