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Third Party Testing Deadline Extended

Published December 18, 2009

BETHESDA, MD (BRAIN)—The Consumer Product Safety Commission has extended by three months a stay of enforcement on third-party testing for children’s bicycles but plans to lift the stay for bicycle helmets as scheduled in February.

In a decision published on Friday, the Commission said certification and labeling would be required for all bicycle helmets manufactured after Feb. 10.

The requirement was initially set to go into effect on Feb. 9, 2009, but the Commission issued a one-year stay due to confusion among manufacturers about compliance with the updated Consumer Product Safety Information Act, which required new third party testing.

The CPSIA says that all products subject to a consumer product safety rule, including bicycles and bike helmets, must have a certificate verifying compliance with all rules, bands, standards or regulations applicable to the product.

For children’s products subject to a product safety rule manufacturers must submit samples of the product to a third party testing facility for to verify compliance with the rules and issue a certificate as proof.

With regard to bicycle helmets, the requirements in the CPSIA are stricter than those already required as part of the bicycle helmet safety standards. The current label on bicycle helmets does not contain contact information for the date and place where tested or custodian of test records, which is required under the new law.

The bicycle helmet manufacturer can either include the additional information on the label, or provide a separate paper or electronic certificate to accompany the helmet.

The Commission extended the third-party testing requirement for bicycles, both children’s and adults, until May 17 saying it has determined that there is not yet enough laboratory capacity for third party testing. Bicycle manufacturers and labs must petition the Commission for an additional extension by April 1 if they aren’t able to gain accreditation by the May 17 deadline.

The Commission also voted 4-1 to extend by one year the stay on certification and third-party testing for children’s products subject to the new lead content limits. Children’s products still must meet the 300 parts per million limit now, but aren’t required to have a third party lab test the products to verify compliance until Feb. 10, 2011.

—Nicole Formosa

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