Obama Signs CPSIA Reform BillAugust 15, 2011 By Kyle Richardson
On Friday, President Obama signed H.R. 2715 into law, which amends the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA). Introduced by Rep. Mary Bono Mack, the bill was passed by both the Senate and House of Representatives on August 1.
The bill grants the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) more authority in how it implements laws, allowing the Commission to exercise discretion regarding what product categories are impacted, particularly regarding the new 100 parts-per-mill (ppm) lead limit. The CPSC is now enabled to exempt a product, class of product or material from the lead content standard if the Commission believes it is unlikely to be ingested by children. Products such as children's all-terrain vehicles and children's books are among those granted exemption.
"This law strikes a careful balance. Among other things, it gives the Consumer Product Safety Commission the flexibility it needs to regulate based on 'risk' and not on arbitrary standards," Rep. Bono Mack said in a statement. "These changes will significantly reduce the burdens imposed on struggling businesses while maintaining strong protections for our children."
One of the most significant changes for the promotional products industry is an adjustment making new lead limits exclusively proactive. As originally drafted, the CPSIA would have made it illegal to sell any products which do not meet the 100 ppm lead limit that went into effect on August 14, 2011. The new bill was signed just two days before the limit change, allowing suppliers to sell back stock of product that meets the previous lead limit of 300 ppm, set in August 2009. Any children's products manufactured and sold after August 14 must meet the 100 ppm limit.
For smaller manufacturers, H.R. 2715 also relieves some of the burdens associated with CPSIA. CPSC will be prohibited from applying testing requirements on small-batch manufacturers until alternate "economically practicable" testing is available, or an exemption is given for the products. "Small-batch manufacturers" are those that made no more than $1 million in the previous calendar year, and that produce no more than 10,000 of the product in question in a calendar year. Associations such as the Handmade Toy Alliance had lobbied Congress, claiming the costs of testing requirements were prohibitively expensive for some small manufacturers and would cause those companies to go out of business.
"We simply cannot afford to lose jobs or stifle innovation because of questionable regulations, and I thank the President for signing this critically important bill into law," Rep. Bono Mack stated.