Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (“CPSIA”) (Public Law No. 110-314) is a United States law signed on August 14, 2008 by President George W. Bush. The “landmark consumer product safety law provided the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) with significant new regulatory and enforcement tools as part of amending and enhancing several CPSC statutes, including the Consumer Product Safety Act.” (CPSC). Specifically, the CPSIA “imposes new testing and documentation requirements, and sets new acceptable levels of several substances. It further imposes new requirements on manufacturers of apparel, shoes, personal care products, accessories and jewelry, home furnishings, bedding, toys, electronics and video games, books, school supplies, educational materials and science kits. The Act also increases fines and specifies jail time for some violations.” 

CPSC Testing and Certification Rule

Under the requirements of the CPSIA, manufacturers and importers of “toys, textiles and apparel, jewelry and most other children’s products (primarily intended for use by children 12 years of age and younger) manufactured on or after January 1, 2012” are required to provide certificates of conformity that ensure that the products at issue comply with all applicable CPSC consumer product standards, including the Flammable Fabrics Act, as specifically required in accordance with CPSC Testing and Certification Rule (16 C.F.R. Part 1110).

These certificates must be issued based on passing test results from a CSPC-recognized third-party testing lab, and must “accompany” each shipment of products. The CPSC permits electronic certificates to satisfy this requirement, and an electronic certificate will be deemed to accompany a shipment if the certificate can be accessed online or via electronic means as soon as the product enters domestic commerce or in the case of imports, when the product is available for customs inspection into the U.S. (CPSC).


The CPSIA imposes or increases both fines and jail time penalties, and mandates coordination with the CPSC in connection with recall of a manufacturer’s goods. In particular, the CPSIA:

  • Increases civil penalties for failure to report possible product hazards to the CPSC in a timely manner from $5,000 per violation (with a cap of $1,825,000) to $100,000 per violation (with a cap of $15 million);
  •  Increases criminal penalties for various prohibited acts to include forfeiture of assets and imprisonment for up to five years, and eliminates the requirement that the CPSC first notify a company of noncompliance before seeking criminal penalties; and
  • Requires CPSC approval of the remedy offered in a product recall, rather than giving the recalling party its choice of repair, replace, or refund.