CPSIA Update 12/9/09: Urgent action needed
It just never ends does it? Four points are important for you to know.
First, the CPSIA product testing workshops are taking place at the CPSC this Thursday and Friday. It will be available by webcast (details) if you’re one of the many who could not attend.
Second and most importantly, this from Rick Woldenberg (most emphasis mine):
You may not realize it, but we face a serious crisis right now. Last week, the CPSC held a hearing that discussed the possible extension of the testing and certification stay. The Commission is under pressure to ramp up implementation of the awful CPSIA and this therefore puts the testing stay in peril. Chairman Tenenbaum has heard the concerns of regulated businesses that some advance warning is needed, so Rumorville in forecasting a quick consideration of the question – possibly as early as next week. Commissioner Nancy Nord commented on the implications of the stay in her blog last week. At least one Commissioner, Bob Adler, is openly hostile to continuation of the stay. This is a big deal to companies regulated by the CPSIA.
[...] The Commission’s sense of urgency to get this irritant off their plate is creating rumors that they intend to act as soon as the next business day after the workshop. As outrageous as this might seem, it’s really worse – the workshop is not about the stay. The workshop is about component testing, frequency of testing, sampling schemes, when to require additional testing, etc. The CPSC has not asked for comments about the lifting of the stay but at least one Commissioner has reasoned that if it was a “big deal”, the CPSC might have heard from more than the Handmade Toy Alliance. [Apparently, both Bob Adler and Jay Howell believe that the CPSC has had not heard from anyone other than the HTA on the stay, which is certainly not true.]
If the stay is lifted on two months notice with all these rules open, undrafted or in process, utter chaos will break out…
…you need to let the Commission know directly how you feel. Here are the email addresses of the five Commissioners – send them an email THIS WEEK expressing your deep concern over the possible lifting of the stay. Please feel free to cc. me.
Chairman Inez Tenenbaum
Commissioner Bob Adler
Commissioner Thomas Moore
Commissioner Nancy Nord
Commissioner Anne Northup
Make your voices heard – don’t let this issue catch you napping. We all have the power to help ourselves. It’s time to take action on behalf of your company, your customers, your suppliers, your teammates. Please help us by contributing your voice to this critical issue THIS WEEK.
Again, Rick’s entry is a must read for more information. It would be helpful if you cc’d him on your emails urging the commissioners to extend the stay. Some emails have already been sent and the replies range from no response to non-committal with the exception of one commissioner, more on this in the comments to Rick’s entry.
Third, Laura Bernstein stresses the value of attending the CPSIA workshops via webinar because the agenda (pdf) mentions sessions that will discuss “Challenges for small manufacturers/low volume production”. The agenda also mentions it is not too late to send in your comments and how to go about it.
Last but not least, did you catch the Zhu Zhu controversy? A consumer interest group called the “Good Guide” released a press release condemning this season’s hottest toy based on highly questionable testing methods. Briefly, Good Guide -using an XRF gun- claimed the Zhu Zhu toy exceeded legally permissible antimony levels. However, it is scientifically impossible to measure soluble antimony with an XRF gun as Jennifer Taggart quickly explained. Credit also goes to the CPSC who responded quickly, assuring consumers the Good Guide is wrong. The Good Guide has rescinded their embarrassing mistake but not before the damage was done. The reputation and perhaps sales of Cepia, (a small 16 employee company) who makes the toy, have been severely impacted. Adding to the mix up, a number of johnny come lately nut jobs have jumped into the fray defending Good Guide and lambasting anyone opposed to CPSIA. One particular pair of wing nuts (that I refrain from linking to) who excel at PR and SEO marketing imagine themselves to be toy safety experts. How it is possible for someone with a background in SEO and marketing -and who can’t even construct grammatically correct sentences (a verb, a verb is all I’m asking for) to be toy experts is anyone’s guess -although this is mine (pdf).
In closing, it’s time to write commissioners now. As Rick explained, it is likely the CPSC will begin the process of declining to extend the testing stay after the workshops on Thursday and Friday.