Testing 1, 2, 3…

A couple of days ago, a very interesting document was put up on the CPSC web site and I want to draw your attention to it.  It is a proposed guidance document on testing and certification requirements under the CPSIA. It discusses such topics as component testing, periodic testing and reasonable testing.

The Commission will be briefed by the staff on this proposed guidance today, November 9, 2009, at 1 pm EST and the briefing will be webcast.  Please see the CPSC website for details.  Bottom line is this:  we know these issues are incredibly complex.  We need as much input as we can get as we struggle with writing guidance and later regulations that protect consumers and work for product manufacturers and sellers. 

On November 10, the commissioners will be briefed on progress in establishing a public data base of complaints received about consumer products.  A consumer complaint database is another requirement of the CPSIA. Information about this briefing is also available on the website.  While the purpose of the database is to get useful information to consumers, there is the real potential that incomplete and inaccurate information in the data base could mislead consumers and result in abusive litigation against product sellers. Again, your input will be informative as we move forward with this database. 

I have found the comments responding into this blog to be very useful as I consider the many policy issues coming before the Commission.  Again, thank you all for taking the time to comment.  Please know that we are doing our best under difficult circumstances to implement this law in as sensible a way as possible.

1 Response to “Testing 1, 2, 3…”

  1. 1 dan marshall November 10, 2009 at 1:10 am

    Thank you again for highlighting these issues. Many of us in the Handmade Toy Alliance were very encouraged by Friday’s guidance document on testing, especially the aspects regarding component testing. Our full reaction is at http://bit.ly/1ZyhTD .

    While this step is very important, I think it is imperative for the commission to take a number of steps to make component testing an effective solution. The first is to give us more time–we have only 3 months left before 2/10/10 and that simply isn’t enough time to push testing up the supply chain. We need at least another year to figure this our with our suppliers.

    Second, I think the commission should reach out to companies like Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, and Joanne Fabrics in regards to component testing. We have already seen how big retailers like Target and Walmart have forced manufacturers to conduct testing sooner than required by the CPSIA and I think a similar dynamic can be used with notions and hardware. A toymaker buying 100 buttons at 10 cents each three times a year isn’t going to be able to convince a button company with thousands of buttons in its catalog to spend $250 for a phthalates test and $60 for a lead test every 15 months. We need to get to the point where component suppliers understand the need to test and certify and that isn’t going to happen without some encouragement.

    Finally, I think a lot of us would like to know more about what the the CPSC is telling Congress about the need to amend the CPSIA. Frankly, despite all our efforts, we are still hitting a brick wall in the house and senate commerce committees. Now is the time to let congress know that a fix is needed.

    Again, I very much appreciate the CPSC’s willingness to address our concerns and your recognition that the structure of small batch manufacturers is fundamentally different from larger operations. I know a lot of us are still coming to grips with the CPSIA and some of us haven’t yet figured out that the commission has already provided substantial relief, but we’re working on it. Thanks again for creating this forum–it helps a lot.

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