We have another big CPSIA decision looming on the horizon and therefore need your input and participation.
CPSIA provides that, as of August 14, 2011, children’s products may not contain more than 100 parts per million (ppm) of lead unless the Commission determines that such a limit is not technologically feasible. The Commission may make this determination only after notice and a hearing and after analyzing the public health protections associated with substantially reducing lead in children’s products.
A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, February 16th. In order for me to act from an educated perspective, I need the evidence and data the public supplies, along with staff analysis. I invite you to speak up and tell us how this lower lead limit will effect you. For details about participating, please refer to the Federal Register notice. The deadline to sign up to present your remarks in person is February 10th. You may also submit written comments and watch on webcast.
Last July, we solicited comments and information about manufacturers’ ability to meet the 100 ppm standard. Some commenters stated that source materials, including recycled materials for metal alloys, cannot comply consistently due to the variability of the materials and that plastics could comply only if virgin plastics are used. We heard about significant variability among test results due to variations in testing methodology and procedures. Several people stated there were not demonstrable health effects reducing lead limits from 300 ppm to 100 ppm in light of the relative inaccessibility of lead that is bound in plastic or metal. Others said there are children’s products in the market now that meet the 100 ppm lead limit, so that it is not only possible, but essential for public health to meet the lowest levels feasible.
The Federal Register notice outlines issues where staff is seeking new or additional information. Questions that are of particular interest to me include:
- how do we evaluate whether a product that complies with the lower limit is ‘commercially available’;
- what factors should be considered in an analysis of the public health protections associated with substantially reducing lead in children’s products, and
- does consideration of technological feasibility include economic implications?
Before we vote to regulate, it is critically important that the Commission understand the practical and safety implications of lowering the lead levels in children’s products. We need your input so we can make an informed decision.