Room to Breathe
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a one-year stay of enforcement on the testing and certification requirements mandated by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) for some products covered by the law, including children's products. Manufacturers and importers will not need to test or certify these products, but are still required to meet the new lead and phthalates standards. This is a positive development for companies that were struggling with the complex certification rules. CPSC Commissioner Thomas H. Moore recognized that "Many of the smaller businesses do have legitimate concerns about how they will comply with the new law and the cost of the new testing and certification requirements."
According to Rob Wilson, vice president of Challenge & Fun, "We are like most companies in that we have been self testing our products to confirm what we already knew, that they are safe and are well within the CPSIA standards. While we will not have to follow the complex certification rules for now, we know that our retailers will demand general certificates from us, which we will gladly provide."
The stay is in response to the growing chorus of voices of business owners concerned that the rules are unclear, confusing, and economically untenable. Additionally, the decision gives CPSC staff more time to finalize four proposed rules which could relieve certain materials and products from lead testing and to issue more guidance on when testing is required and how it is to be conducted.
This is a reprieve from testing and certification for some products; it does not apply to the requirement for expensive third party testing for lead in paint and other surface coatings, cribs and pacifiers, painted products, and products for children under three that may have small parts. Nevertheless, the stay puts the entire industry in the same situation as thrift stores across the country, in that the CPSC has removed the requirement of testing but is holding them to the new standard under the threat of civil and criminal penalties.
Additionally, it does not respond to the petition submitted to the CPSC on January 29 by sixty-seven industry groups, including the National Association of Manufacturers and the US Chamber of Commerce, requesting a delay in the lead rule in order to give thousands of manufacturers, distributors, and retailers time to adjust to do the necessary due diligence to confirm that their inventory complies with the CPSIA. Without a delay in the implementation of the standard, thousands of companies will still find themselves on the brink of bankruptcy, despite the newly announced stay. In response to this issue, Nancy Nord, acting chairman of the CPSC, stated, "The retroactive nature of the lead ban has caused much of the concern that has been voiced over this law but Congress will need to address that issue; the CPSC cannot."
Accordingly, Rob Wilson further stated, "Now it is time for Congress to match the CPSC actions and quickly pass the necessary changes that will allow the CPSC and the business community the time it needs to implement this law correctly."
You can keep up to date on the CPSIA happenings at CPSIA-Central, the forum for all CPSIA-related topics, www.cpsia-central.ning.com.