Posts Tagged ‘CPSIA’

Kenneth Ross on CPSIA stay

The attorney (Bowman & Brooke, Products Liability Prof Blog) has written a three-page summary memo (PDF) on the CPSC enforcement stay announced Friday. Earlier in the week, he notes, the National Association of Manufacturers had petitioned (PDF) for a stay; more on that here.

Some blog reactions to the stay: What Do I Sell, Domestic Diva with many links, Common Room. And a couple of comments from Twitter: the stay “bought time to get reform” (@PersonallyYours); it “looks like our fight has changed from a sprint to a marathon” (@bitofwhimsy).

More reactions: Handmade Toy Alliance/Little Ida, CPSIA blog 600ppm. And in the Washington Post, a longtime trial lawyer ally says the stay “does not seem consistent with the intent of the law.” Well, as they say, duh.

(Public domain image: Grandma’s Graphics, Ruth Mary Hallock).

Podcasts on CPSIA: CraftSanity, “America’s Business”

I was a guest this week on the 93rd podcast in Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood’s CraftSanity series, talking about the Consumer Product Improvement Safety Act. As readers know, the CPSC issued a one-year stay of enforcement of some of the law’s provisions on Friday; the interview was recorded two days before that, on Wednesday, so inevitably some of the issues we discuss are of less immediate urgency now (though kicking them down the road is not the same thing as solving them).

Also recorded on Wednesday, I did a (shorter) prerecorded interview on CPSIA as a guest on the National Association of Manufacturers’ weekly audio show “America’s Business”, hosted by Mike Hambrick. Same caveats apply.


Yesterday’s extraordinary one-year stay of enforcement on testing/certification by the CPSC was, if nothing else, a tribute to the energy of an extraordinary grass-roots movement that emerged over the past two months and made its voice heard around the country and above all in Congress. It will rightfully be cause for celebration by thousands of businesses whose inventories of books, toys, garments and other childrens’ goods have now suddenly not been rendered valueless and which can continue making selling their wares after Feb. 10, not indeed without legal worries, but at least without being in blatant defiance of the responsible federal agency, the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

After the hugs and confetti-throwing have subsided, there will be time to examine the many ways this relief falls short of solving the CPSIA problem, while leaving product makers and retailers exposed in serious legal ways over the next twelve months as well as afterward.

In the mean time, let us note that while some sectors of the media flopped utterly in covering CPSIA in recent weeks, others distinguished themselves, with much good coverage appearing in local newspapers and also local television (the latter often belittled as a source of original reporting). Above all, this was a triumph of social media: blogs both big and small (including the 350+ who participated in CPSIA Blogging Day on Wednesday), forums (at places like Fashion Incubator and Etsy), and Twitter (which proved its worth as a means of putting concerned people in touch with each other, spreading word about useful articles, documents and resources, and serving as an early alert system on news developments).

(Public domain illustration: Grandma’s Graphics).

CPSIA: CPSC announces 1-year enforcement stay

[Headline updated to reflect full commission approval.]

In a major development this afternoon, the staff of the Consumer Product Safety Commission has proposed (PDF), and the commission itself has agreed by a 2-0 vote to, a one-year stay of enforcement of CPSIA’s testing and certification requirements (but not its introduction of new lead and phthalate standards; products will still need to conform to those standards).

This is, in general, very good news, but two problems need to be pointed out. One is that the action may be vulnerable to legal challenge as violating the CPSC’s legal obligations to regulate, and in particular to enforce CPSIA’s terms faithfully. As if to confirm that danger, prominent “consumer” groups — that is, the same groups that pushed CPSIA through to enactment and have vocally defended the law ever since — issued a letter this afternoon digging into their position that there’s nothing wrong with the law and that Congress should not revisit it. (Consumers Union, Public Citizen — the latter, it will be recalled, being the group whose David Arkush wrote last month “I haven’t heard a single legitimate concern yet” about the law.)

All these pro-CPSIA groups have lawyers; some are governed of, by, and for lawyers. If and when they sue the CPSC, a court could agree with them and disallow the one-year enforcement stay of certification requirements.

Beyond that, the CPSC is not the law’s only enforcer. Today’s letter from the commission states the following:

The Commission trusts that State Attorneys General will respect the Commission’s judgment that it is necessary to stay certain testing and certification requirements and will focus their own enforcement efforts on other provisions of the law, e.g. the sale of recalled products.

In other words, the commission has at most the power to stay its own enforcement, and cannot stay the 50 state attorneys general from going after makers of children’s goods, small or large, who fail to obtain testing certifications between now and next February. But it expresses a wan hope that they will be reasonable and not do so. You know how reasonable those state attorneys general always are.

In another development today, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) has announced that he will introduce a bill that would broadly reform CPSIA’s terms.

CPSIA and religious goods

Just posted at Musings from a Catholic Bookstore:

We currently have received certification from one vendor (about 10 products) which means that we have been forced to discontinue 1ooo products that we currently don’t have in stock to avoid breaking the law after February 10th. We currently have about 600 different kid’s items in stock that are discounted and won’t be available after February 10th unless we get more certificates from vendors.

The upshot of this? The First Communion season (February – May) is usually the second busiest season of the year for Catholic retailers. This year, unless our vendors get their acts together, it will be the worst season ever because there won’t be any First Communion dresses, kid’s missals, kid’s rosaries, etc. available for purchase.

I wonder how many Catholic retailers that are currently on the edge this will put over into failure? Knowing our industry it is quite likely that many, in spite of our contacting them, will continue operating as if the law doesn’t exist. At least until they get fined out of existence.

Anyway, stock up on First Communion and other kid’s items now because they may not be available next month.

CPSIA and youth motorcycles

Yet another casualty of this destructive law: Honda has sent a letter to dealers announcing that it will withdraw youth motorcycles and ATVs from the U.S. market. It says lead figures as an intrinsic part of the alloys used in building the vehicles.

The irony, of course, is that of all the imaginable safety hazards posed by the existence of youth motorcycles and ATVs, the danger that kids will eat the darn things must rank at the very bottom.

Some other likely casualties here (Flickr group).

CPSIA Blog Day #6: Wrap-up

Links and angles that didn’t fit anywhere else:

CPSIA Blog Day #4: Groups that should care

There’s at least one “generic” blog post on CPSIA that has been freely distributed for crafters and other bloggers to use today (example: Chichiboulie). It’s a good one, dividing the topic along the lines of the various groups that each have a lot to lose if the law goes into effect as planned Feb. 10:

  • To the Parents of Young Students:
  • To the Avid Reader:
  • To the Lover of All Things Handmade:
  • To the Environmentalist:
  • To the Second-Hand Shopper:
  • To the Entrepreneur:
  • To the Antique Toy Collector:

Do you fall into any of these categories? Many people I know fall into at least half of them. It’s hard to imagine the law’s diehard defenders at places like Consumer Reports, The Pump Handle, and the trial-lawyer-defense Center for Justice and Democracy don’t fall into any. (Graphic credit: Hasenpfeffer).