“Sit, Stay.”

Today the Commission is taking very significant action to further implement those provisions of the CPSIA dealing with testing and certification.  In the agreed-to Federal Register Notice (see CPSC website), we are setting out a schedule for lifting the stay of enforcement we adopted in February, 2009.  This action impacts a number of different products in a number of different ways.  However, the action that will be of most interest across industry lines is our decision to extend for one additional year, until February 10, 2011, the stay on testing and certification to the lead content standards. 

The stay was needed because the deadlines set out in the CPSIA were wildly unrealistic and their enforcement would have resulted in even more chaos in the marketplace than we have already seen over the past year without increasing safety.  Since the stay of enforcement did not negate the need to comply with the underlying requirements of the law, it provided relief to regulated industry without impacting consumer safety.

The stay was adopted so that the Agency would have the time to issue guidance and rules addressing what products must be tested, when testing is required and how it is to be conducted.   Even thought agency staff has been working diligently, the issues presented are extraordinarily complex since the statute basically requires a reordering of the manufacturing processes for a vast number of industries.  As a result, and in spite of our best efforts, many of those foundational rules are still under development.  They must be finalized and given a chance to be absorbed by impacted industries before we lift the stay with respect to lead content testing. 

Over the next year we must define what is a children’s product since that will determine what products are subject to independent third party testing.  Component testing offers the potential for reducing the cost and burden of the third party testing requirements while still addressing our concerns for safety.  Therefore we must put those rules in place and assess whether component testing actually works to relieve the significant cost burdens the law places on small manufacturers and crafters.  Finally, as Chairman Tenenbaum recognized at our meeting yesterday, we must adopt the “15 month” testing rule and allow adequate time for industry to implement it and that this action is a prerequisite for lifting the stay on lead content.  I agree with the bipartisan majority on this.

The agency will need to work aggressively to complete this regulatory schedule within the next year.  I stand ready to assist as our staff of seasoned (but severely overworked) professionals steps up to this challenge.  I call on industry and other impacted stakeholders to help us accomplish this task and actively participate in the comment process. 

Last but not least, it is important to note that our action extending the stay for lead content comports to the Congressional direction recently given us to minimize the burdens imposed on small businesses especially with respect to the enforcement of the lead provisions of the CPSIA.  The entire commission is directed to come forward with suggested changes to make the CPSIA work better. Keeping the stay in place is in keeping with Congressional direction, and is keeping further unnecessary chaos from implementation of the CPSIA.

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7 Responses to ““Sit, Stay.””


  1. 1 David December 18, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    Nancy,
    I have a question about the remaining components of the original stay: Our understanding is that the original stay applied to all CPSC rules, standards, bans, etc. subject to 3rd party testing (excluding the handful that have already since expired). What happens with the remaining 3rd party testing not specifically extended to a “date certain” and where the vote to lift has not been affirmed. Specifically, the requirements for 3rd party testing on Phthalates and ASTM F963, which were stayed with the original stay. Should we expect that the Commission will vote on those additional matters at a time before the original stay expires, or are those requirements stayed indefinitely (presumably in excess of the additional year given for lead content)? I know you don’t speak for the entirety of the commission, but some clarification on how you see it would be helpful to businesses that are planning on these significantly expensive tests.

  2. 2 Vicki Mote Bodwell December 18, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Nancy, I am grateful and thankful for a voice of reason regarding the CPSIA. I am a small online retailer and manufacturer of custom bedding and furniture. We have been in business for 11 years and work closely with local sewers and artisans. As we produce pieces individually, there is no doubt our company could withstand the costs of individual testing and we would be forced to close our family business.

    As parents and businessmen, we are deeply committed to quality and safety which is why we sew and manufacture in small batches.

    While we respect the core values of the CPSIA, the broad stroke language used in this law, penalizes the small batch business’ at a much greater level than major manufacturers.

    I look forward to your continued support and wish you and your family a happy holidays.
    Vicki Mote Bodwell
    warmbiscuit.com

  3. 3 Nancy Nord December 18, 2009 at 11:22 am

    I received this email earlier this week. It is typical of many I have received with similar messages. I think it is important for the voices of those so adversely affected by the CPSIA to be heard so I am posting the email (after asking for permission, of course). It is important that my colleagues and Members of Congress hear from those who are impacted by requirements that impose burdens with little payback in terms of safety.

    Dear Mrs. Nord, Our company would be greatly disadvantaged if the stay were to be lifted for a number or reasons. First of all, as the lead limits have dropped rapidly since the enactment of the CPSIA, we have destroyed about $40,000 worth of our inventory, This is a huge loss. This combined with enormous testing costs is very damaging. We are showing a good faith effort by scanning all of our items with the xrf, paying for expensive lab tests, and now adding the lead content cost would be another significant impact to our profit. We sell $1.99 items so adding large testing costs does not make our items very profitable The Commission has asserted that component testing would be a great method to save testing costs, however, this does not work for us. We have over 500 different items all from various factories, and all having different suppliers. It is imperative that the CPSC does not lift the stay! Our company has already taken significant blows in the past year, and it is fair that we are given more time to comply. In addition, there is a lack of guidance from the CPSC. There is still no set rule for testing frequency nor is there any guidance on how long a lab test is good for. We also do not feel comfortable with the idea of spending thousands of dollars on phthalate testing since the Commision is constantly changing regulations. For example, composite testing was not allowed but now it is, which saves a lot of expense to test this way. Has the Comission given any direction of items that need testing for phalates? We don’t want to waste our money on testing ALL our items for phthalates only for the Commission to narrow down the types of materials to be tested later. This could happen because the lead paint rule was enacted before the list of exclusions came out. Thus, those complying with the law, were penalized because if they had waited they would have not been spending as much money by testing every material. You are rewarding companies who are procrastinating abiding by the regulations until the regulations are confirmed and a truly feasible way to comply has been concluded. How is that fair? Overall our main concerns with lifting the Stay lie in the lack of direction, the rapid enforcement, coupled with the crippling costs associated with complying with these laws. Do not lift the Stay of Enforcement!
    Devra Singer

  4. 4 KidBean December 17, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    I am thrilled by the news of the extension of the stay! While I am saddened by the knowledge that so many small businesses have already closed their doors since the law was first signed last August, I am encouraged by this post. It seems that the CPSC is finally hearing us and understanding the unreasonable burden put on us by the CPSIA. Thank you for doing your best to keep the focus on *safety*.


  1. 1 CPSIA Update | After Hours with the WOOD Gang Trackback on January 10, 2010 at 8:08 pm
  2. 2 CPSC Postpones Testing and Certification Requirements for Some « WeMakeItSafer Blog Trackback on January 8, 2010 at 11:31 am
  3. 3 Extension on CPSIA certification and 3rd party testing « Essco Safety Check Trackback on December 18, 2009 at 1:51 pm

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