A Lesson in Testing

CPSC scientists recently opened the agency’s lab to fifth graders from Capitol Hill Day School in Washington, D.C. The students spend the year studying China. As part of a school project, each student is identifying a testable question about a consumer product and designing a “fair test” to answer that question. They came to the CPSC Product Testing Laboratory to learn how to test whether something used in the home is hazardous.

An airplane? No, a cigarette lighterWhat’s this product? Students were surprised to learn that the airplane is really a cigarette lighter.

Testing elements in a productHow do you know the elements that are in a product? With chemical tests, CPSC scientists measure stimulated emissions similar to light and color. That tells the chemists how much lead, cadmium and other elements of interest are in the product.

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