CPSC Votes to Approve ASTM F963-17 with one Exception for Push/Pull Toys

November 28, 2017 | The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted 3 to 1 along party lines on November 27 to allow the 2017 version of ASTM F963: Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety to become the mandatory toy safety standard, except for an editorial change to the section on push/pull toys. Acting Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle voted to approve ASTM F963-17 in its entirety.

As previously reported, an updated 2017 version of ASTM F963 was notified to CPSC on September 1. It included critical language missing from the 2016 edition related to requirements for stored-energy projectile toys, as well as other smaller editorial changes, including the push/pull toy clarification that made it clear that push/pull toys are subject only to C-weighted peak sound level limits, and not A-weighted peak limits. In an unprecedented move, the agency voted against including this phrase, which clarified an exemption that has existed since the 2008 version of the standard was published.

CPSC staff recommended to the commissioners that they vote against the added phrase on push/pull toys because they mistakenly interpreted this as a new exemption.

“We are extremely disappointed that the majority of commissioners voted in this manner based on an error by staff. This unfortunately amounts to unprecedented ‘back-door’ rulemaking, in that CPSC is attempting to add a requirement by erroneous interpretation, outside the consensus process mandated by Congress in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act,” says Alan Kaufman, senior vice president of technical affairs at The Toy Association. “We are also frustrated by the fact that CPSC staff participated throughout the process to create the updated standard and was aware of the requirements for push/pull toys, but staff changes have apparently contributed to the ball being dropped here by the agency.”

In The Toy Association’s view, the staff interpretation and CPSC vote change nothing, except to omit a clarification from the standard. Push/pull toys remain subject only to the C-weighted peak limits.

The Toy Association is discussing potential next steps with members and legal counsel. Technical questions about ASTM F963 may be directed to Alan Kaufman.