CPSIA update 12/23/09

We had two pieces of good news last week. On December 15th, the CPSC passed (by unanimous vote) an Interim Enforcement Policy (pdf) on Component Testing and Certifications of Children’s Products and Other Consumer Products to the August 14, 2009 Lead Limits. This will permit manufacturers to issue GCCs that rely on component testing and/or component testing results provided by component suppliers. Yes, again, we can use supplier provided documentation. However, there’s one big caveat; the manufacturer remains responsible (read: liable) for compliance under the CPSIA. In other words, if your products are found to be out of compliance with the law and you used your supplier’s testing results, you are liable, not the supplier. Greater due diligence will be required in sourcing your inputs. Be wary of lower cost input suppliers.

On December 17th, the CPSC voted to extend the stay of enforcement on third-party testing under the CPSIA for an additional year. Other than the obvious, it gives the CPSC some more time to issue final rules. Likewise, we still don’t have enough labs certified to provide testing services. It is hoped that these two issues among myriad others will be resolved before this current stay of enforcement expires in February of 2011.

On December 22nd, the CPSC announced a Notice of Public Workshop (pdf) to be held on January 11 and 12, 2010 in reference to the Establishment of a Public Consumer Product Safety Incident Database.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission […] is announcing a two day staff-conducted public workshop to receive views from all interested parties on establishing a public consumer product safety incident database. The workshop, to be held on January 11 and 12, 2010 in Bethesda, Maryland, seeks input from stakeholders on five aspects of the public database: Data analysis and reporting; reports of harm; manufacturer notification and response; additional database content, and materially inaccurate information. Participation by members of the public is invited.

DATES: The workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on January 11 and 12, 2010, with a one hour break for lunch. Requests to make oral presentations and the written text of any oral presentation must be received by the Office of the Secretary not later than 5 p.m. Eastern Standard time (EST) on January 4, 2010. [continued…]

Boy, I wonder how “reports of harm” will be defined considering the “materially inaccurate information” that was blasted against the Zhu Zhu Pet toy. The establishment of a database is something that should concern everyone because the parameters of reporting (and the veracity of possible information provided) is undefined. Well, at least now that testing requirements have lightened up considerably, I would think that fears of competitors ratting each other out for competitive gain should be dramatically reduced. But that still won’t stop some yahoo with an XRF gun who doesn’t know how to use it or who doesn’t understand the testing requirements from swooping in with their cape to “save” hapless “victims”.

As ever, Rick Woldenberg maintains his running commentary on the whole sordid affair.

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