CPSC Acting Chairman Delivers Keynote Address at Toy Fair, Praises Agency-Industry Partnership

February 18, 2014 | Acting Chairman and Commissioner of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Robert Adler delivered the keynote address during the Toy Industry Association’s (TIA) annual Toy Safety Compliance Update, held on Tuesday, February 18th during the American International Toy Fair.

Hundreds of toy manufacturers, retailers, designers, and representatives of testing labs gathered for the seminar to hear the latest news and developments related to U.S. and international toy safety laws and regulations.

In his remarks, Adler praised the cooperative efforts of the toy industry and CPSC, saying, “the level of partnership and good feeling and trust is on the increase. I don’t think I’ve seen it on higher levels than it is today.”

That partnership is reflected in the ongoing maintenance of ASTM F963, which Adler called “one of the best toy safety standards in the world.” Adler noted that children’s toys —more so than many other consumer product types — are governed by numerous safety standards and regulations, which has made for “extraordinary safety in the marketplace.”

Through the collaboration between agency and industry, CPSC is ramping up efforts to relieve toy companies of unnecessary third party testing burdens. The Commission is expected to hold a workshop on April 3, 2014 that will examine ways to reduce testing costs, focusing in particular on methods for determining which products do not and could not contain materials such as lead and phthalates and therefore do not need to be tested by a third party.

Adler also spoke of CPSC efforts to increase effectiveness of import surveillance at the ports, especially through a potential expansion of its Risk Assessment Methodology (RAM) program, which is designed to identify imported products that are most likely to violate safety regulations. Adler thanked TIA for its assistance in educating members, especially smaller companies, about import regulations and enforcement.

“I can’t think of another industry that we’ve had a better working relationship with,” he said.

The three-hour session, free for all attendees, also included remarks from newly appointed CPSC Commissioner Ann Marie Buerkle and CPSC Director of Compliance Ray Aragon, as well as a port report on the joint initiative of CPSC and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) by Jack McDaniel, international trade specialist with CPSC, and Edward Ryan, supervisory international trade specialist with CBP. Alan Kaufman, senior vice president of technical affairs with TIA, rounded out the agenda with an update on changes to ASTM F963 and European Union toy safety requirements. 

A recording of the Toy Safety Compliance Update will be posted to the TIA website in the coming days; members will be notified once it is available.