House and Senate Pass CPSIA Reform, Bill Moves to President

Late Monday, the Senate approved a bill that would give the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) more authority and discretion in enforcing laws such as the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA). The bill, H.R. 2715, was passed by a 421-2 vote in the House of Representatives earlier in the day, and was passed in the Senate by a voice vote before adjourning for the evening. The bill now moves to President Obama to sign into law.

Proposed by Representative Bono Mack (R-Ca.), H.R. 2715 allows the CPSC to regulate certain children’s products based on “risk,” and to exempt some products from the lead limitations mandated by the CPSIA. “Today, we are striking a very careful balance,” said Rep. Bono Mack in a press release. “As a nation, we simply cannot afford to lose jobs or stifle innovation because of questionable regulations. But we also have an obligation to make certain that our children’s toys remain safe.”

Causing concern for businesses is a facet of the law dictating the permissible lead limit in children’s products. Currently set at 300 parts-per-million (ppm), the limit will change to a more strict 100 ppm on August 14. As originally written, the CPSIA would make the more stringent lead limit retroactive, preventing the sale or resale of items which adhere to the current 300 ppm limit but do not meet the 100 ppm limit.

Representatives from several industries have claimed that applying the lower limit on older products is onerous and excessive. The Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) issued a campaign to “make the lower limit of 100 ppm on lead in substrates proactive only and allow existing inventory (on your shelves or in transit as of August 14) to be sold.”

The new bill addresses some of the concerns raised by PPAI and other industry groups. Under H.R. 2715, only newly made products will need to meet the 100 ppm limit “to ensure valuable store inventory is not wasted and to allow for the continued sale of used children’s items,” according to the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The bill does not change the 100 ppm lead limit, which still goes into effect on August 14.

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