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Textiles Exempt From Lead Testing Requirements

James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has decided to exempt virtually all textile products, including natural and manufactured fibers, from the lead testing requirements of the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).

In making the announcement, CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum said the staff had reviewed hundreds of test reports submitted by interested parties and concluded that most textile products are manufactured using processes that do not introduce lead or result in an end product that would exceed the CPSIA lead limits. The blanket exemption does not apply to all products that may be altered by dyeing or printing, but the commission said the exemption could apply in most circumstances. Specific guidelines for those processes will be outlined in a forthcoming Federal Register notice.

A notice published by CPSC on its website listed the following exempt textile fiber products:
•    natural fibers - cotton, silk, wool, hemp, flax, ramie, linen, jute, kenaf, bamboo, coir, sisal, kapok, alpaca, llama, mohair, cashmere, angora, camel, horse, yak, vicuna, qiviut and guanaco.
•    manufactured  fibers - rayon, nylon, lyocell, acetate triacetate, rubber, polyester, olefin, nylon, acrylic, aramid, azion and spandex.

Components of apparel products such as buttons, snaps, zippers, trim and fasteners are not exempt.

Tenenbaum said this determination does not address every issue of every manufacturer using these kinds of materials, and the commission will take action on component testing in the future to clarify what is required of products made up of some component materials.

August 25, 2009