By Rob Wilson of Challenge and Fun
At the beginning of April, I traveled to Washington, DC to speak at the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) rally. It was very well attended, and attendees were able to meet with legislative aides of Congressmen and Senators from across the country. If you missed the event, you can watch footage online, as a complete video from start to finish, or as clips of specific speakers.
Sadly, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) did not pass the petition by the National Association of Manufacturers to stay the requirement for permanent labeling. This is causing great economic and practical problems for manufacturers and distributors across the country. It is a very small percentage of all products on the market that are ever recalled, and when a recall does occur, the difficulty is rarely in determining what needs to be recalled; it is in reaching the consumers, and convincing them to return the product. This is a particular problem for small batch and cottage industry manufacturers of handmade products.
Also, newsworthy is the announcement of two new commissioners at the CPSC. Inez Moore Tenenbaum will become the new chair, and Robert Adler has also been nominated as a commissioner. Assuming both Tenenbaum and Adler are confirmed, and none of the existing commissioners step down, we can expect one more commissioner to be named in the coming months to make a total of five. (Update: Inez Tenenbaum’s nomination hearing is today
Congress has repeatedly deferred their responsibility to fix this law to the CPSC, and assured us that any and all problems will be fixed as the new commissioners join the CPSC. While this remains to be seen, the one glimmer of hope is that Congress will be more receptive to listen to requests for amendments and corrections from commissioners more closely aligned with their politics.
One can hope they will untangle the web of confusion and help to reverse the long list of CPSIA casualties, which grows longer every day. Recently, the CPSC issued further guidance for thrift stores (pdf download), and specifically included local yard sales as subject to this law. This essentially eliminates most children's products from being able to be legally sold at such events. If you want to follow the chronicles of the CPSIA, I would also recommend overlawyered.com as another great resource.
In the meantime, I urge you to continue to stay involved and communicate with your representatives in Washington.