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Industry Faces Deadline for CPSC Testing

Published September 30, 2008

EL SEGUNDO, CA (BRAIN)—Bicycle manufacturers are scrambling to find accredited laboratories that can verify their products meet new consumer product safety standards amid a looming November deadline.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, which passed in August, requires that manufacturers now have a third-party, independent laboratory certify that all consumer products intended for children 12 and younger, including bikes, meet CPSC requirements for things like lead paint levels and the presence of phthalates.

Until now, the bicycle industry has been regulated by a self-certifying process and suppliers often used in-house facilities for testing.

The new requirement goes into effect on November 12.

John Bogler, founder of Collision and Injury Dynamics, which handles testing for bicycles and helmets as well as accident reconstruction and forensic engineering, recently spun off the testing portion of his business in a new company: American Compliance Testing Laboratories, Inc.

He's fielded several calls from bicycle suppliers wondering how to comply with the testing requirement since the law passed.

“This new law touches virtually all manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers of consumer products, and in the immediate, it mandates oversight and compliance of the manufacturing of children’s products containing lead paint to include helmets, bicycles, and related accessories,” Bogler said. “Our goal is to work with all bicycle manufacturers and related firms to ensure their products are in compliance with all standards to reduce the possibilities of injuries, loss of life, damage to property and business.”

Bogler has applied with the International Laboratory Accreditation Commission to become a certified third-party testing facility for CPSC standards. That process could take up to six months—far beyond the November deadline. Bogler will attend the CPSC’s public hearing on testing and accreditation tomorrow in Maryland and hopes the commission will agree to some sort of interim accreditation process so laboratories have time to get certified before enforcement begins.

Bogler already works with suppliers like Specialized, Trek, Shimano, SRAM, Huffy and Pacific, and his laboratory is set up to test for CSPC standards, but he needs the commission’s stamp of approval before he can begin certifying bikes.

“We’re already a government-certified lab, but haven’t gone through new loops the CPSC is requiring,” Bogler said.

American Compliance has two labs, one in El, Segundo, California and a second due to open early next year outside Shanghai in China.

There are other labs around the world that have already been approved by the CPSC (a list is located on the CPSC Website), but the waits can be up to four weeks for certification and they generally test all types of consumer products. Bogler’s labs focus solely on the bicycle industry.

Bogler said he thinks the biggest stumbling block for the bicycle industry could concern phthalate, a plastic the new law bans in concentrations of more than .1 percent in any children’s toy. Phthalates can be found in some helmets and gel bicycle seat covers, Bogler said.

He said the new law has caught much of the industry off-guard.

“It’s surprising how few people know about this. … It did come in under the radar, but it’s definitely going to affect everybody quickly,” he said.

For more information about testing for new CPSC standards, call Bogler at (310) 414-0449 or e-mail jbogler@act-lab.com. For more information on the new law, visit www.cpsc.gov or click on the link above.

—Nicole Formosa

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