How Often Should Products Be Tested To Give Clients Confidence?
We have talked about the importance and focus of compliance on children’s products due to specific standards and the higher risk of selling to a young audience. As we continue to drive better standards in product offerings to you, we collaborate with our network of partners to standardize and recommend similar compliance requirements for products geared toward general audiences.
It is just as important to ensure all products are safe and meet all necessary standards. One way we do that is to suggest that our partners have documented testing policies. These policies include screenings at certain purchasing intervals, basic checks for hazards such as sharp points and edges, and more.
Some Regulations Don’t Require Formal Testing Frequency Policies
While the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has established requirements for testing many consumer products for compliance, there currently aren’t formal testing frequency requirements for many general audience products. This means that products may not have any testing or be tested only once over the life cycle of the product. This is a risky mistake, and a formula for possible harm to consumers and your brand’s reputation.
What Can Happen Without Compliance Testing?
New and trending products are constantly released to the market. And as a partner who promises to stay on top of these trends, we are continuously promoting and sharing these ideas with you. However, without our compliance recommendations in place, there is a risk of products only undergoing testing when introduced to the market. If that happens, then at this initial test, while the item may meet the FDA and California Proposition 65 standards, it doesn’t mean it will pass those same requirements down the road.
It may be assumed that the materials to produce the product have remained the same year after year. But without periodic lab testing, it is possible that the item’s materials could potentially be altered at the factory source unbeknown to anyone and have elevated chemical content and which could result in a possible recall. This can lead to lawsuits and fines that impact you – in reputation or cost. This is too heavy a price to potentially pay when the right due diligence could have been implemented throughout the production process.
What are the recommendations for testing frequency?
UL-Specialized Technology Resources and PPAI recommend that a product regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) be tested annually. If the production volume is less than 10,000, then testing should be performed in the production of every 10,000 items. Additionally, whenever there is a material change to the item, testing should be performed.
Tabatha Bauer, Director of Logistics & Compliance for Staples Promotional Products, has been in the promotional products industry since 2000. She is a member of the ICPA (International Compliance Professional Association), PRAG (Product Responsibility Action Group) and ICPHSO (International Consumer Product Health & Safety Organization).