Search Results for ‘cpsia testing’

February 10 deadline for CPSIA testing rules

Already postponed in their effect more than once, the testing rules required by the 2008 law are still impractical enough to threaten widespread business disruptions and closures. While the Consumer Product Safety AnimalsBall5aCommission has come to agree that the law does not require endlessly reduplicative testing of the same components, “the hoped-for market for ‘CPSIA tested and certified’ components has not yet developed.” CPSC needs to extend the deadline while awaiting a more workable regulatory fix or better yet Congressional reconsideration. Carter Wood explains.

More: on the brighter side, the newly constituted House Energy and Commerce committee was quick out of the gate with a public meeting on CPSIA reform [Rick Woldenberg, statement, reminder of unhelpful role of “consumer” groups] And Wacky Hermit offers a CPSIA Primer.

PUBLIC DOMAIN IMAGE from Elise Bake, Der Ball Der Tiere (“The Animals’ Ball”, German, 1891), courtesy ChildrensLibrary.org.

Recalling Sen. Mark Pryor’s role in CPSIA

Readers who followed Overlawyered in 2009-10 will recall that the closest this site has ever come to a crusade was in covering the truly horrible Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, enacted after a media-fed tainted-toy panic, a law that needlessly drove out of business many small retailers and manufacturers of children’s goods posing no hazard whatsoever to consumers. Some will further recall that the chief Senate handler of the legislation was Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Arkansas), who cut a poor figure throughout as both ill-informed and dismissive about the side effects his own legislation was having.

Now Sen. Pryor is locked in a tight race for re-election with challenger Rep. Tom Cotton, and a group called the Arkansas Project has been reminding readers of Pryor’s record on CPSIA, digging up many new details in an August series written by Washington, D.C.-area policy analyst Marc Kilmer (who generously credits Overlawyered coverage as a source throughout). Most of the series can be found at this tag or via search. Here is a guide to individual installments in the series, supplemented by links to further coverage from our archives:

Arkansas voters — and everyone who wants to learn how a Congress can fail spectacularly at its legislative responsibilities — should read this series in full.

CPSIA de la Plata? Argentina un-bans book imports

Following a worldwide outcry, Argentina has promised to lift restrictions on the importation of foreign books, which had purportedly been based on fear of dangerous lead content in the ink. According to a report by my Cato colleague Juan Carlos Hidalgo:

“If you put your finger in your mouth after paging through a book, that can be dangerous,” said Juan Carlos Sacco, the vice-president of an industrialist organization that supports the measure.

MercoPress carries reporting in English translation on the original measure and on the promised reversal. Under the rule of President Cristina Fernandez, the Argentine government has taken a number of steps considered hostile to press critics, including controls on the newsprint business, and criminal charges against economists who report that prices are rising faster than the official inflation index.

Where did the Argentine officials get the idea that lead in book inks might be enough of a public health problem to justify drastic government action? Maybe from the U.S. Congress. As I explained in this City Journal piece, the notoriously extreme and poorly drafted 2008 CPSIA law imposed across-the-board requirements for lead testing of older children’s products, with the result that, according to guidance from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, it was considered doubtfully lawful to sell or distribute most pre-1985 books for children. That set of restrictions was eventually relaxed, following a massive outcry from dealers, publishers, libraries and lovers of children’s books.

Do NYT editorialists even read their paper’s own CPSIA coverage?

The New York Times editorial page continues to dismiss criticism of the testing burdens of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 on small manufacturers and retailers as “part of a standard antiregulation litany.” But on October 30, 2009 the paper itself ran a sadly belated but otherwise decently executed article PieManEthelEveretta by reporter Leslie Wayne from which a fair-minded reader would conclude that the small makers’ complaints about the law are only too well-grounded (“Burden of Safety Law Imperils Small Toymakers.”)

If one were to take a charitable view, one might commend the Times editorialists for at last deigning to concede that the law might usefully be “tweaked,” at least within a very narrow latitude. They finally acknowledge that there “might be a way to exempt products from testing if they very clearly do not pose a lead-related hazard,” without acknowledging that the great majority of products swept under the law’s coverage fall into exactly such a category. But they continue to insist that even older kids be denied access to products that could not pass BikeItalianPosterCPSIA’s lead testing, including whole categories of products like kids’ bicycles and ballpoint pens whose designs still cannot dispense with the (entirely harmless) use of brass and suchlike alloys. Only the repeated staying or postponed enforcement of many of the law’s requirements has spared the country a long list of similar absurdities — while the legal absurdities that the CPSC has not stayed or postponed have already wiped out makers and vendors of harmless products from coast to coast.

Even under the best of circumstances, the Times’s editorialists would find it hard to live down their cruel, ideologically blinkered track record on the CPSIA issue. But couldn’t they at least pretend to be following the coverage in their own paper? More: Handmade Toy Alliance. And Rick Woldenberg offers a critique of the the Times’s new, and anything but improved, news-side reporting.

House hearing on CPSIA Thursday

Speaker line-up via Rick Woldenberg; opening statements by Reps. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) and Fred Upton (R-Mich.); ABC News coverage; Republicans reportedly preparing legislation that would amend, but not repeal, the ill-conceived statute; a move to strip funding for the controversial product database.

A separate piece of legislation may address the law’s devastating effects on the sale of youth motorcycles, snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles:

“The original legislation Congress passed was meant to keep kids safe from lead content in toys,” said Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT), who comes from a state where smaller recreational vehicles are popular. “Ironically, the overreaching enforcement wound up putting kids at risk by forcing them to use larger more dangerous machines that are intended only for adults.”

Rehberg’s “Kids Just Want to Ride” Act, which he introduced last month, has 41 co-sponsors, including seven Democrats. A similar bill in the last Congress garnered 70 co-sponsors, including 24 Democrats.

Approaching deadline on CPSIA compliance

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has repeatedly delayed the implementation of the testing and certification rules required by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, the economics of which is likely to capsize many smaller producers. Now time may be running out for further extensions after the Feb. 10 deadline. [Rick Woldenberg, AmendTheCPSIA.com] Comments from affected parties are here.

CPSIA, uncompliable

Katherine Mangu-Ward at Reason “Hit and Run” provides two snapshots of the continuing damage being done by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, including the rage-and-despair reaction of Rick Woldenberg (AmendTheCPSIA.com), who says that the new regulations “will jack up Learning Resources’ annual compliance costs to $15 million, FAR in excess of our profits. We have no Plan B — so we are trying to get a new government.” And a commenter points to the “Criticism” and (very partial) “List of Companies Whose Closure Is Linked To CPSIA” sections of the Wikipedia entry.

Related: “Not available because of the CPSIA“: wood-and-beeswax Selecta Spielzeug Rhonda dollhouse dining room, formerly imported from Germany. Why pay a whopping testing bill to clear an innocuous product that’s at best going to sell modestly on this side of the Atlantic? [EuroToyShop.com]

CPSIA: Russian nesting dolls, paper clips, science kits

The website of the Golden Cockerel import firm includes a rather elaborate warning as to why its matryoshka are not meant for the under-12 set, at least not since the enactment of the calamitous Jan-Schakowskybacked law:

the law requires each batch of toys be tested by a 3rd party laboratory to be sure they are “toy safe.” Such tests can cost well over $1000 per nesting doll set! And sometimes, as with our museum quality one-of-a-kind dolls, a “batch” consists entirely of one doll, or only a few, making it totally unfeasible to test.

CPSIA: reserving treasured toys for strictly adult use since 2008.

More: The CPSC has just sided with purported consumer groups and against pleas from the business community in adopting a broad definition of what constitute “children’s products” under the disastrous Barbara-Boxerbacked law: for example, ordinary paper clips must go through costly separate CPSIA testing when meant for kids’ use as part of a science kit with magnets and similar items [NY Times, AP/WaPo (“Kids’ science kits may take hit from safety ruling”), Commissioners Anne Northup and Nancy Nord]

An ombudsman? For CPSIA?

Rick Woldenberg reacts to a peculiarly inutile suggestion, in a Baltimore Sun interview, from CPSC chair Inez Tenenbaum (“We think if we had a small-business ombudsman who was out there regularly educating small businesses, we could help them prevent problems in terms of compliance.”):

…The necessary implication is that we small businesses are just too stupid to understand their complicated rules – I guess she thinks only Mattel can read the English language. Of course, the pending testing frequency rule (which I believe will be implemented in the coming weeks, get ready for it) will cause our company to spend $15 million per annum on testing. This sum far exceeds our profits. Perhaps the ombudsman will help us terminate our people to pay for testing, or provide a shoulder to cry on.