CPSIA Update: An Educational Toy Manufacturer Speaks

In today’s The State, the Columbia, S.C., newspaper, is a guest column by Carolyn Voison, president of Roylco, a manufacturer of children’s educational products based in Anderson, S.C., “Tenenbaum needs to lead on product safety law.” Excerpt:

S.C. businesses serving the children’s market — and thousands of similar small businesses across the country — are eagerly awaiting Inez Moore Tenenbaum’s confirmation hearing and Senate approval as the new chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, hoping that she will act decisively to fix the well-known problems with the new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. The children’s product industry, already suffering from an historic economic downturn, has been hurt by the over-reaching provisions of this new law, and needs Ms. Tenenbaum’s leadership to stop the damage.

I should know. Our family business makes educational products for schools. Although our company has a sterling safety record over more than 40 years of manufacturing — 13 of them in South Carolina — we now face an uncertain future with high costs from unnecessary testing and tracking labels that do nothing to improve product safety, and from exposure to new kinds of liability. This law will cost jobs in our community.

Voison appeals to Tenenbaum as an educator who should appreciate the value of toys and other educational materials threatened by the overreach of the CPSIA. As Voison’s manufacturing peer from Illinois, Rick Woldenberg, has recently noted, the CPSIA has caused some schools to stop using rocks to teach geology, and the nifty little experiment into science and construction of batteries, the “Potato Clock,” is now verboten because it has wires. Please, Superintendent Tenenbaum, restore some common sense to the regulatory world!

Of course, Tenenbaum does not have the legal authority to change the law, which has tied the CPSC’s hands in too many cases. Her power comes as a new voice, untouched by the attacks against the CPSC from those whose political agenda are impeded by common sense.

As Voison writes, “The appointment of Ms. Tenenbaum provides the opportunity to focus new efforts on fixing the law. Ms. Tenenbaum needs to persuade Congress to restore the agency’s ability to make its decisions based on risk of injury.” Just so. And good luck!

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