Contributing Lawyers

Canada

Cyndee Todgham Cherniak

United States

Susan Kohn Ross

Australia

Andrew Hudson



CPSC Report to Congress re CPSIA

On January 15, 2010, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released its report which contains recommendations for reforming the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). The report begins by summarizing some recent Commission activities, including its port screenings which are said to have barred the entry of products containing too much lead. Interestingly, there are no comments in the report about phthalates level requirements.

The first among several recommendations in the report concerns Section 101, which mandates that all children’s products must not exceed the proscribed lead levels. The Commission recommends that certain products be excluded from the constraints of Section 101, particularly parts described as not likely to have been among those for which the CPSIA was intended, such parts found in children’s bicycles and ATV vehicles. Books and other reading material with illustrations published prior to 1985 were printed using a process that had a lead content exceeding Section 101 levels. Some have suggested that books were not intended to be covered by the CPSIA and the Commission has proposed the law be clarified to exclude books and other children’s printed materials.

Having the ramifications of dropping the acceptable lead level in February 2009 to 600 ppm (parts per million) and again in August 2009 to 300 ppm, CPSC is sensitive to the market disruption caused by a retroactive application of these limits on goods already in the supply chain. Therefore, the CPSC recommends that whenever the 100 ppm lead limit takes effect, it only applies prospectively to goods produced after the effective date. The question of whether it is even technologically possible to meet the 100 ppm limitation is one the Commission will have to resolve later this year.

Further, given the disruption that CPSIA implementation caused to small businesses and crafters, CPSC’s report states the Commission will consider volume of production, channels of distribution, and other factors to minimize the disruption to these small entities and asks Congress to also focus on these issues (?) for low volume manufacturers.

A full copy of the report may be obtained at

CPSC Report to Congress.

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