CPSIA Update: NAM President Engler Comments on CPSC Letter

By March 25, 2009Regulations

The May 20th letter from the professional staff of the Consumer Product Safety Commission to Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) detailed the many flaws and difficulties in implementing the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (Public Law 110-314). The staff’s response to Rep. Dingell’s questions is substantive and persuasive communication about the impossibility of meeting the law’s dictates and the costs the badly drafted law has imposed on retailers, manufacturers, consumers, libraries and bookstores and many more. (As we noted here, here and here.)

National Association of Manufacturers President John Engler has now issued a statement on the CPSC letter. In addition, on Tuesday the NAM CPSC Coalition submitted a petition to the CPSC requesting a stay in enforcement of the law’s tracking label requirements, yet another major burden and nearly impossible to achieve by the August 14 effective date. The Coalition’s letter is available here.

NAM President Engler’s statement follows:

The CPSC response to Congress clearly indicates that legislative changes are necessary to fix the flaws in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. By the CPSC’s own account, implementation of the new law has overwhelmed the agency and jeopardized its ability to meet safety priorities.

The law’s overly broad approach applies to products that that should not be evaluated using the same safety criteria as products that do pose a risk. It is critical that the CPSC focus on improving safety.

The law’s unrealistic compliance deadlines made it impossible for industry or the CPSC to adequately prepare before the law went into effect. Its unprecedented decision to retroactively apply the new lead standards and phthalates ban to inventory already sitting in stores and warehouses is causing massive disruptions to industries across the board, particularly small and medium-sized companies.

Implementation has also followed a worst case scenario for manufacturers and their employees. This misguided law has triggered the destruction of millions of safe products, costing businesses billions of dollars during one of the worst economic crises in U.S. history. Youth model All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) and dirt bikes are no longer available because of their lead content, even though they pose no risk to riders. The CPSC staff agrees that banning these products will result in more children using adult-size ATVs as a substitute, which will pose “far graver and more immediate risk.” Ball point pens, bicycles, safe apparel, older library books and other products will also be unnecessarily banned if Congress does not act.

Congress can no longer ignore the calls of thousands of small businesses and companies of all sizes to hold public hearings on this problem and fix the law.


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