House Subcommittee Letter Urges CPSC to Pursue Efforts that Would Reduce Third Party Testing Costs

October 6, 2013 | An Oct. 1 letter signed by seven Republican lawmakers was sent to Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Chairman Inez Tenenbaum, requesting Agency action to reduce third party testing costs for toy and children’s product manufacturers as mandated by Congress in August 2011.

Under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), all children’s products must be third party tested for compliance with U.S. standards and regulations. The law was amended in 2011 to reduce some of the unintended burdens that resulted under the Act, and called on the CPSC to find ways to reduce third party testing costs for lead and other hazardous substances while maintaining safety compliance.

Signed by members of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, the letter notes that although the CPSC voted in October 2012 to pursue nine potential cost-reduction opportunities identified by the public during a call for comment period, “nearly one year later, however, the Commission has yet to implement any of the cost-reduction opportunities … nor has the Commission reported that it lacks authority to implement any of those opportunities.” 

The letter asks the CPSC to provide a detailed timeline for implementation of the nine cost-reduction opportunities identified in October 2012, and to state whether the Commission will allow immediate temporary relief pending final determinations for certain materials that have been deemed to never or rarely include a restricted substance.

Additionally, the letter questions whether prior analyses on natural materials can be relied upon to support determinations without further delay (e.g. if wood, cotton and wool have been found to contain little or no lead, is it also likely that they contain little or no mercury, barium, selenium, or other heavy elements?)

The Subcommittee has requested that the CPSC respond by October 21st, “given the importance of this issue to thousands of companies struggling with the costs of testing.”

The Toy Industry Association (TIA) will keep members apprised of developments.