I am pleased that today the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade is holding a hearing to discuss the draft legislation to solve problems with the CPSIA that have been so evident. The draft bill will go a long way to addressing many of the unintended consequences of the CPSIA. It’s time to get our agency back on track and focusing on real safety issues, not imagined ones.
I hope any final legislation will include the following necessary changes:
- The lead exclusions need to be amended to give agency more flexibility to address unintended consequences. The amendment needs to recognize the expertise of the agency to define what is an unacceptable risk based on whether the child’s interaction with the product results in measurable increase in blood lead levels. Migration of lead limit from 300 ppm to 100 ppm (effective in 2011) should be repealed. The agency can set an appropriate lower level if dictated by safety. The scope of the lead provisions is too broad. The law treats all children – from infants to preteens – the same even though product interaction is quite different and risks are different. The scope should be narrowed to apply to products intended for younger children (recognizing that the agency has inherent authority to deal with risks, regardless of source, to older children).
- The lead and phthalates provisions need to be amended so that the law applies prospectively, rather than retroactively.
- Mandatory third party testing requirements for all children’s products impose a significant burden especially on small businesses. Testing and labeling provisions need to be amended to minimize the damaging impact on product makers while protecting consumers. Rather than requiring third party testing in every instance, the agency should be able to set reasonable and appropriate testing and labeling requirements to assure compliance with underlying safety standards.
- Regulations should be subject to cost/benefit analysis.
- The Public Database provisions should be amended to include only complaints from consumers who bought or used the product or relevant public health or other public agencies; enhance the ability of businesses to respond to complaints; and include the duty of the agency to assure accuracy of any information made public.
The discussion draft would go a long way to solving the obvious problems with the CPSIA. I hope that Congress will move swiftly to pass constructive legislation.