The Commission has now voted (4-1) to extend the stay of enforcement on third party testing for lead content—until December 31, 2011. Although the recommendation before us was to extend the stay until the middle of September, this would have imposed an expensive testing burden on small manufacturers during one of their busiest seasons.
This extension will also give the agency more time to complete the component testing proposed rule and the testing and certification proposed rule. Both these rules need to be in place before the stay of enforcement is lifted. While I would have preferred to specifically tie the lifting of the stay to the issuance of these rules, the December date gives everyone—the agency and manufacturers–a bit more time to prepare.
The stay of enforcement does not relieve anyone from complying with the underlying lead regulations. Therefore, consumer safety is not impacted by the agency’s action. Instead we have pushed off for a bit longer this burdensome third-party testing requirement. However, unless Congress changes the law, the testing requirement will go into effect at the end of December.