The Senate approved a bill that would give the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) more authority and discretion in enforcing laws such as the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA). The bill, H.R. 2715, was passed by a 421-2 vote in the House of Representatives and was passed in the Senate by a voice vote.
Proposed by Representative Bono Mack (R-Ca.), H.R. 2715 allows the CPSC to regulate certain children’s products based on "risk," and to exempt some products from the lead limitations mandated by the CPSIA. "Today, we are striking a very careful balance," said Rep. Bono Mack. “As a nation, we simply cannot afford to lose jobs or stifle innovation because of questionable regulations. But we also have an obligation to make certain that our children’s toys remain safe."
Causing concern for businesses is a facet of the law dictating the permissible lead limit in children’s products. Currently set at 300 parts-per-million (ppm), the limit will change to a more strict 100 ppm on August 14. As originally written, the CPSIA would make the more stringent lead limit retroactive, preventing the sale or resale of items which adhere to the current 300 ppm limit but do not meet the 100 ppm limit.
Representatives from several industries have claimed that applying the lower limit on older products is onerous and excessive. The Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) issued a campaign to "make the lower limit of 100 ppm on lead in substrates proactive only and allow existing inventory (on your shelves or in transit as of August 14) to be sold."
The new bill addresses some of the concerns raised by PPAI and other industry groups. Under H.R. 2715, only newly made products will need to meet the 100 ppm limit "to ensure valuable store inventory is not wasted and to allow for the continued sale of used children’s items," according to the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The bill does not change the 100 ppm lead limit, which still goes into effect on August 14.
"This bill is a win-win," Bono Mack said. "It’s good for American consumers and American businesses."
Halloween Industry Association’s counsel Rick Locker provided the following information:
Applies new limits to products manufactured only after the effective date of the Rule (August 14, 2011)
Includes a limited exemption from the substrate lead standard if lead at low levels is necessary for proper function
Removes the lead limits for "used children’s products"
Includes categorical exclusions or alternative requirements for ATVs, dirt bikes, bicycles and printed materials.
3rd Party Testing
Requires CPSC to seek public comment on ways to reduce burden and cost, specifically requesting information on redundancy with existing testing standards
Includes testing exceptions for small batch manufacturers
Includes an inaccessibility exclusion from the phthalate standard
Requires CPSC to stay publication for five (5) additional days when the commission receives notice of materially inaccurate information
Requires CPSC to attempt to get model/serial number or a photo of a product in question.