New CPSC 16 CFR 1201 Regulations Take Effect Today
February 11, 2010

Compliance with a new set of U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) certification rules applicable to architectural glazing materials installed in hazardous locations goes into effect today (CLICK HERE for related article). Under these new regulations, manufacturer certifications of compliance with CPSC 16 CFR 1201-the federal safety standard for architectural glazing materials-must include the following: Manufacturer's name; mailing address and telephone number; month and year of manufacture; city and state where manufactured; safety standard; identification of the product by a "unique identifier;" custodian of testing records' name, e-mail address, mailing address and telephone number; date and place where the product was tested; and the third-party test laboratory's name, mailing address and telephone number.

John Kent, administrator for the Safety Glazing Certification Council (SGCC), says every manufacturer or importer of an architectural glazing material that is subject to 16 CFR Part 1201 will be required to comply with these new regulations, and this will certainly mean many fabricators will have a lot of questions. For example, what happens if a fabricator has to remove and reinstall the same piece of glass? Does the glass then need to be labeled? Kent says it's his understanding that the regulations apply, in effect, during the shipping period or process.

"The manufacturer or importer shall provide the required information to a distributor or retailer," says Kent.

For those companies that buy labeled glass and then have to cut it, the required information will still be available as Kent says it can appear on 1) a paper certificate, 2) the actual product label, or 3) by reference to a website, or some combination of these.

"The required certificate, or information, must accompany the product, and a copy must be furnished to each distributor and retailer of the product," explains Kent. "This implies that each crate or shipment must bear the information, not necessarily each piece of glass."

Kent adds, "I believe most people will continue to label as they have in the past. They may add 'date of manufacture' to the label if that is viable. They then will provide a statement on shipping documents that 1) certified they meet the regulation, 2) addresses the date of manufacture, 3) identified the product, and 4) references a website where the remainder of the information may be obtained."

And as far as how the new requirements will be enforced, Kent tells USGNN.com™ that the regulation references making the certificate available to the FTC or to the Customs authorities or to CPSC.

"I believe a review during a customs inspection is the most likely avenue for enforcement, although CPSC could certainly police the process as well," Kent says.

According to Kim Mann, general counsel for the Glass Association of North America, the CPSC has made it clear "that its first priority will not be policing certification and labeling requirements," but, rather, trying to ensure these consumer products meet the safety requirements in these standards. However, Mann adds, "Who knows when CPSC is going to abandon this so-called leniency approach to certification?" And when they do, he cautions, manufacturers not complying with the new requirements could be subject to an up to $100,000 penalty for each known violation.

Some in the industry say these changes are not likely to have a huge impact on the way glass fabricators have already been doing business.

"I don't see a big change for most of the fabricators; if they are currently using a third-party certification organization such as SGCC I believe they are already in fairly good shape," says John Bush, who has more than 20 years working with safety glazing materials, most recently with Oldcastle Glass. "However, those who choose to continue to self-certify have to seriously ask themselves if they are doing this in a way where they can defend the 'reasonable testing' statement. There is too much required information to put it all on the permanent logo on the glass and still have the glass acceptable to owners and architects. Therefore, I see most manufacturers using a hybrid approach with the information being distributed between the permanent logo, the shipping documentation and the fabricators website." He adds, "As always is the case with new rules and regulations, we will have to wait to see how some of this is interpreted."

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