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One-Year Reprieve Granted To Product Safety Law
Volume 580

 

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has voted to grant a limited one-year stay on legislation meant to tightly regulate the manufacturing of children's toys and other items. Concerned that the law was creating "chaos" for small businesses, the CPSC expects the reprieve to allow time for rules to be more clearly defined and exemptions to be granted. "The action we are taking puts in place a limited "time-out" so that the Commission and Congress can address the issues with the law that have become so painfully apparent," says Nancy Nord, acting chairman of the CPSC. "The stay will give the CPSC time to develop and issue rules defining responsibilities of manufacturers, importers, retailers and testing labs."

If the CPSC had not granted a stay, a segment of the legislation would have gone into effect next Tuesday. Passed with near unanimous congressional support last August, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) is designed to require mandatory testing of any items that might be used by children. The testing and subsequent certification process would ensure children's products and the materials used to make those products are safe. The CPSIA applies to a broad range of items, including apparel, toys, books and sports gear, but is saddled with gray areas. "I think the stay is a good thing so we can truly understand how the law affects our industry," says David Nicholson, president of Leed's (asi/66887). "There are some areas that are unclear, so this is a positive step just for the sake of clarification."

Some suppliers, though, believe the enforcement delay might create unintended problems. "I'm concerned that this stay is only making things more confusing," says Jeff Lederer, executive vice president of Prime Line (asi/79530). "If you don't test, how are you going to know if you're in compliance? Top suppliers in the industry are already complying." 

Not included in the reprieve – which is focused on testing and certification of products – is a ban on lead in paint, new limits on lead in jewelry and approved standards for cribs and pacifiers. The stay is expected to be lifted on February 10, 2010. For more information on the legislation and the one-year delay to some of its components, visit the CPSC Web site at www.cpsc.gov.

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