The simplest way is to engage a 3rd party testing company, such as TTS. Some manufacturers self-test and/or rely on local testing labs for certifying their products. However, there is no guarantee these labs, or their equipment, are reliable. Nor is there any guarantee the results are accurate. In either case, the importer may be held responsible for the product. In view of the risk, most companies opt to use a 3rd party testing lab.
Prop 65 is the 1986 voter-approved Safe Drinking Water & Toxic Enforcement Act that includes a list of Chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and/or reproductive toxicity. If a product contains a listed chemical, then the product must contain a “clear and reasonable” warning label informing consumers of the presence of the chemical and stating the chemical is known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm.
Although companies with fewer than 10 employees are exempt, if they sell a violative product to a retailer with more than 10 employees, the retailer could receive a notice of violation. In these circumstances, retailers usually rely on clauses within their contacts with importers that require the importer take responsibility for the violation.
A plaintiff may seek injunctive relief requiring a company caught selling a violative product to suspend sales, conduct a recall, or reformulate the product. Plaintiffs can also obtain penalties of up to $2,500 per violation per day. A more general California statute allows most successful plaintiffs to recover their attorneys’ fees as well.
Many are now choosing to rely on 3rd party testing companies to verify that hazardous substances are not being used in their products.
Package testing is mandated by regulations for some products such as; food, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, dangerous goods, etc. This may cover both the design qualification, periodic retesting, and control of the packaging processes. For unregulated products, testing may be required by a contract or governing specification. However, for most consumer goods, package testing is often a business decision involving risk management for factors such as:
• cost of packaging
• cost of package testing
• value of package contents
• value of good will in your market
• product liability exposure
• other potential costs of inadequate packaging
TTS staff would be happy to assess your specific product and packaging requirements to help you determine whether package testing can improve your quality deliverables.
TTS takes great pride in our technical brain trust. They are constantly updating our internal knowledge base so we are prepared to proactively inform our customers on issues affecting their products. In addition, each month we send out our Product Safety and Compliance Update. This is a comprehensive view into the latest industry and regulatory changes and recall review that helps you make critical decisions. We invite you to join our list of recipients. Use the Contact Us form to get on the list to receive it.
Regulatory laws and guidelines are an increasing challenge to importers through the world. How these affect you will vary widely based on your product type, component materials, where the product is being shipped, and the end-users in your market. Since the risk is so high, it is imperative you stay up to date on all relevant regulatory laws affecting your products. TTS staff can work with you to determine your exact requirements and propose a custom solution to best meet your needs. We also provide monthly updates on regulatory matters to keep our customers informed. Feel free to use the contact form to get on our newsletter list.