CPSIA Update: Rep. Waxman Responds About Law, Hearings

Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) of the House Energy and Commerce Committee appeared on the NPR radio program, the Diane Rehm Show, this morning.  Many thank to Ms. Rehm for reading an e-mail question to Waxman about the  Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. Here’s the soundfile and here’s the transcript of the exchange:

Diane Rehm: Quick question here from Rob, who says: “We are a small, family-run importer and manufacturer of natural toys made from organic cotton and other natural materials. We pride the fact that our manufactured products are made here in the USA. However, the CPSIA, Consumer Product Safety…

Henry Waxman: Commission [sic]

Rehm: Commission, “is forcing us to cut our product line in half this year and most products will be gone by this time next year, and maybe we will, too. We could survive if we move our production to China and produce in huge lots. We don’t want to do that. Why are we in this situation. Why do you refuse to have hearings on this important subject?”

Waxman: I think you make a good argument. I know you’re concerned as are others about the enforcement of the Consumer Product Safety Act. I don’t agree with the idea that you’re going to escape the law by producing toys in China. Most toys sold in the United States are sold in China.

But that law wanted to protect infants from toys that are made with chemicals that can do them neurological damage. But the people running the Consumer Product Safety Commission are enforcing it in a way that to me doesn’t make sense. And we’re hoping that with the new people taking control of the agency will have a more thoughtful regulation and enforcement, and if not, we’re going to have to regulate legislate.

Rehm: And are you planning on holding hearings?

Waxman: We will be holding hearings and looking at this issue and trying to deal with it.

UPDATE (12:10 p.m.): The Handmade Toy Alliance reports via Twitter that it was the alliance’s member, Rob Wilson, who submitted the question. Thank you!

CORRECTION: Rep. Waxman did not say “we’re going to have to regulate.” We misheard it. He said “legislate”: “We’re hoping that with the new people taking control of the agency will have a more thoughtful regulation and enforcement, and if not, we’re going to have to legislate.”

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