A year ago we extended until February 2011 our stay of enforcement on lead content testing and certification of children’s products. Well, we’re almost there and it’s slated to disappear in six weeks.
Recently, I received an inquiry from a major consumer products manufacturer asking when the commission would be meeting to consider whether to lift or extend this stay of enforcement. This manufacturer, like many others, did not realize that, absent commission action, the stay will be lifted automatically on February 10, 2011.
I am concerned that imposing lead testing on the hundreds of thousands of products subject to this requirement raises serious questions at this time. I am particularly concerned about the very significant issue of economic impact on small manufacturers of children’s products. In addition, the agency has not yet addressed the availability of XRF technology for lead content testing, which would lessen the economic burden of this requirement. We have not finalized our policy with respect to frequency and component testing. We are still struggling with a less-than-clear definition of children’s products. (Witness our about-face on whether glasses with cartoon characters are or are not children’s products and the resulting confusion over the issue.) We have not yet begun the process of determining how we will deal with the lowering, yet again, of the lead limit scheduled for August, 2011.
I have asked for a public briefing on lead testing and consideration of a formal commission vote on whether the stay should be extended. I’ll keep you posted as to whether the Commission will meet to address the stay.