CPSIA Update: Five Billion Ballpoint Pens. Five Billion. With a ‘B’

By May 28, 2009Regulations

From the petition to the Consumer Product Safety Commission from the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association, seeking an exclusion from the lead-content limits for children’s products in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA):

According to our members, after consultation with the manufacturers of pen point components, there is no ready substitute for these brass, stainless steel or silver nickel components. WIMA first became aware of this problem in October and was hopeful, initially, that some substitute material could be utilized. However, according to our supplier members, there is no known substitute for the brass, stainless steel or silver nickel pen point components and it will likely take two or more years to develop a substitute (if one is available). In the interim, all ball point pens sold in the U.S., which meet the definition of children’s product under the CPSIA, will be in violation of the total lead standard on February 10, 2009. Retractable and stick ball point pens account for approximately 85% of all pens sold in this country, and for approximately 95% of pens sold for use in schools, or by children under the age of 12. Our rough estimate is that this problem impacts four to five billion ball point pens. Roller ball pens are also often sold to children 12 and younger. Our rough estimate is that this problem impacts another one billion roller ball pens.

(Our emphasis.)

The CPSC is due to vote on the request for exclusion by June 2. In similar, previous ballots, the two commissioners have voted to deny the petitions because the law does not provide any flexibility or reasonable application. (See post below.)

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