Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Time for protests and email landslides - CPSIA

I highly advise that anyone concerned about the CPSIA read Rick Wolderberg's blog CPSIA - Comments & Observations. I'm using such a small amount of the material from just two posts.

The CPSC had a hearing December 2, a hearing on extending the testing stay and about interium enforcement policy. According to "CPSIA - Hearing on testing Stay and Interim Enforcement Policy," the Commission and the CPSC Staff are asking better questions
such as if there is enough lab capacity to the required tests."

However none of the discussion involved "Safety" or any discussion of risk. Rather concern seems to be the overwhelming paperwork. Nothing that mentioned the purpose of this law or huge governmental mistake - supposedly safety for children.

Rick Woldenberg continued by saying, "The sad fact is that the CPSC cannot create a workable solution, even with a smile on their faces and good intentions in their hearts, without addressing the deficiencies of the law. A nonsensical law cannot be fixed with implementing rules. At some point, the CPSC is going to figure this out when they see that compliance is very low, and they are overflowing with violations."

One of the items discussed as the possible extension of the testing and certification stay.

Woldenberg shared more in his "CPSIA - An Open Letter on the Testing Stay" December 8.

The discussion by the CPSA concerning possibly extending the testing and certification stay may not turn out well without massive pressure from us, all of us, steamroll the commissioners with an avalanche of emails.

I'm going to quote Woldenberg again, because he organized it and explained so well:

What kind of disaster would the termination of the Stay in February mean to you? Let me count the problems:

* The "15 Month Rule" was never issued when due on November 14th. The "15 Month Rule" was supposed to address testing frequency, sampling regimes, the need for additional testing, component testing rules, etc. [Component testing rules were cited as critical by Nancy Nord when the original stay was issued on January 30, 2009. How time flies . . . .] There is a workshop to be held on Thursday and Friday this week to solicit feedback from stakeholders. More than 200 people will attend and many more will watch and participate online in the web simulcast. Presumably this feedback needs to be fully digested before the Commission acts on the stay.
* Comments on the "15 Month Rule" issues are due on January 11. For perspective, the original comments on the penalty factors were due in late December 2008, and a second round of comments were due on October 1. The revised penalty factors have not been released, and we are now within days of a full year since the first comment letters were received. With this as precedent, we are clearly MANY months from a completed "15 Month Rule". Arguably, without a fully articulated "15 Month Rule", an active testing requirement will be incomplete and utterly confusing.
* The CPSC has not issued its phthalate testing standard.
* The CPSC has not certified ONE phthalates lab yet.
* The CPSC admits that it has not certified enough labs to handle a full burden of testing for many product classes or safety tests. They have not provided any quantification of this deficit besides acknowledging that for bikes, based on current accredited labs, it would take a full year to complete testing on all bikes on the U.S. market. That's one round of testing only, btw.
* The CPSC has not certified labs for ASTM F963 testing yet.
* The CPSC has not defined "children's product", "toy", "play" or "childcare article" yet, making the application of the rules completely opaque.
* The CPSC has not leveled the playing field, acknowledging that fixed test costs place a disproportionately high burden on small businesses. This competitive disadvantage has no ready solution under current rules.
* The CPSC has acknowledged that many companies have not acted to fill market gaps like component testing because the rules are not final (or even drafted in this case).
* The CPSC is on its third enforcement policy on lead and lead-in-paint. With the enforcement-policy-of-the-week, the agency ensures that companies will have devote considerable resources to relearning the rules that they had previously mastered, leading to confusion and exhaustion. Imposing a further layer of incomplete, vague and unarticulated testing policies and plans will only reinforce chaos as the working standard for the children's product industry.
* The rules that the CPSC has implemented are so ornate, confusingly worded, scattered among multiple documents, letters, and even video testimony, that only the most obsessive observers can claim an accurate understanding of every nuance. This group would not even include me, even though I have given up sleeping in favor of the CPSIA.

Now, I've emailed all five of the commissioners, but only one replied, Nancy Nord, agreeing the stay should be extended.

Send these five commissioners an email now with your concerns if the stay should be lifted.

Chairman Inez Tenenbaum

Commissioner Bob Adler

Commissioner Thomas Moore

Commissioner Nancy Nord

Commissioner Anne Northup

Let's show the commissioners that we know what is going on and that we feel the destructive law, which should be destroyed, needs to have the stay extended.


Donna M. McDine said...

Vivian...thanks for sharing such valuable information and contact info. Much appreciated.

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Rena said...

Thank you for the information, Vivian, as well as who to contact.

Holly Jahangiri said...

I still think Congress should simply repeal the law as written. A "stay" only prolongs the inevitable. Just repeal it. Enforce the laws we already had, and everything would be JUST FINE.

elysabeth said...

I'm with Holly on this one - get rid of a law that didn't have any business being enacted in the first place. Since obviously the CPSC commissioners can't even agree on what the law really is supposed to do and the wording keeps moving to a more undigestable level, no sense trying to make sense of something that was so stupidly written in the first place. Fine the large companies for using sources that still put lead in paints and move on. The small companies have suffered enough and are still paying for Mattel's mistake. Take a chunk of Mattel's income and leave the small businesses alone. Anyway, thanks for posting the email addresses - E :)