CPSIA Update: House Energy and Commerce Offers Fix

By March 15, 2010Regulations

Chairman Henry Waxman’s staff on the House Energy and Commerce Committee has released draft legislation meant to correct the multitude of problems in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). It includes many of the proposals offered by the National Association of Manufacturers and its member companies and associations.

The discussion draft is here.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act became law on Aug. 14, 2008.

The draft proposal is meant to provide the Consumer Product Safety Commission additional authority in the exclusion process, one of the most confounding flaws of the current law. If a product poses no threat whatsoever — think brass and other lead-containing metal parts on kids’ ATVs or in bicycle valves — the CPSC has not been able to provide a common-sense exemption from the CPSIA’s effective ban on sales. This language should also help manufacturers and sellers of children’s books and ball point pens.

Also proposed is exclusion language for inaccessible parts containing phthalates — shielded wiring, for example — exemptions for extremely low-volume manufacturers, and exemptions for thrift stores. The language would apply prospectively the reduction in 2011 to 100ppm for lead content instead of applying it retroactively, as has been current practice.

The draft also proposes to give the CPSC new authority on voluntary recalls, subpoena power and public notification of imminent hazards.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act became law on Aug. 14, 2008.

The NAM is collecting comments from members in response to the draft language. Not surprisingly, the most passionate and engaged activists on the issue, Rick Woldenberg of Learning Resources Inc. has commented extensively on the draft language at his blog, “CPSIA – Comments & Observations.” Chairman Waxman has at least acknowledge that the law is flawed, Woldenberg writes, but he sharply criticizes the draft’s omissions and failings. From “CPSIA – The New Waxman Amendment Analyzed,“:

CRITICAL ISSUES are absent and unaddressed in this legislation. Examples:

  • Risk Assessment by the CPSC and/or the Commission.
  • Changes in age limits for the lead standards and phthalates ban.
  • Narrowing of the scope of “Children’s Product” to eliminate many categories of products unthinkingly pulled into this law by its overly broad language.
  • True reform to protect small businesses.
  • Tracking labels relief.

All valid points.

More from Woldenberg:

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act became law on Aug. 14, 2008.

UPDATE: Roll Call has a sympathetic article on Chairman Waxman today, “Henry Waxman in His Element.” The story does not mention the CPSIA, which became law on Aug. 14, 2008.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • […] Does the Fix Need a Fix? Published March 15, 2010 Uncategorized Leave a Comment On February 5, I wrote here that the Congress was considering making changes to the CPSIA. That’s moved to the next step: the five CPSC Commissioners have now been asked to comment on draft legislation to address the unintended consequences of the CPSIA.  Because it has not yet been introduced, it is not officially available but you can read the draft bill analyzed in several blogs including Learning Resources and Shopfloor. […]

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