Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Fixing ‘Unintended Consequences’

(Industry Week – Jill Jusko)

Proposed legislation to modify 2008’s sweeping consumer product safety law is drawing mixed reactions from manufacturers

Sean Hilbert is among the manufacturers keeping a close eye on proposed draft legislation aimed at modifying the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA). So far, the president of Cobra Moto is not entirely pleased with what he sees. “It’s moving in the right direction. It’s not moving fast enough,” he says.

The draft legislation in question is the Consumer Product Safety Enhancement Act of 2010 (CPSEA), introduced by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) in March and debated in late April at a hearing before the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection. It aims to address what some have called the “unintended consequences” of the CPSIA, a sweeping law that reformed U.S. consumer safety laws in the wake of a seeming groundswell of recalls of children’s products, many due to unsafe lead levels.

Among the unintended consequences, the law’s critics say (and proponents as well), is the wide range of children’s products swept up by the lead provisions – even for products not likely to be ingested or mouthed by children, as well as burdensome and expensive testing procedures that could drive smaller manufacturers out of business (and already have, in some instances). The complexity of implementing the legislation is evidenced by several stays of enforcement of lead-content limits for certain products as well as third-party testing requirements. Read more here.