CPSC Votes to Require Third-party Testing for Children's Products
CPSC commissioner Nancy Nord, who voted against both regulations, issued a six-page press release lambasting the rulings. Describing them as "overreaching" and "bad policymaking," Nord stated the regulations would increase costs to American businesses without substantially increasing consumer safety. In a statement, she said, "the rule 'will have a significant impact on all firms' making children's products and, unfortunately, American families should expect to bear the brunt of this rule's impact."
"Not only will the Testing Rule impose substantial costs on consumers, it may slow or stop the pace of innovation in the design and manufacturing of children's products. As our staff explained, impacted companies may 'forgo or delay implementing improvement to products' design or manufacturing processes in order to avoid the costs of third party testing.' Forgone innovation could even include ways to make products safer. So, in order to test to today's safety standards, we may force companies to put off or abandon tomorrow's safety improvements," Nord continued.
In addition to the new regulations, which were introduced to "create a new safety framework designed to ensure the safety of children's products" according to CPSC chairwoman Inez Tenenbaum, the commission voted 5-0 on two other rulings intended to aid affected businesses. The first concerns products required for periodic compliance testing, and states that firms are allowed to submit items known to be "representative samples," rather than "random samples." The second vote approved a notice in the Federal Register to seek public comment on costs associated with the new third party testing.
Thursday's decisions represent the final action by commissioner Thomas H. Moore, who announced his departure from the CPSC on the same day. Despite voting in favor of both 3-2 rulings, in his farewell statement he warned that overregulation was not the solution to all product safety issues. "Experience has taught me that reasoned commission action should reflect a pragmatic approach to resolving safety problems and there should be recognition that regulation is only one of many options that can be employed to address safety issues," he said. "I think that consumers should be well informed about the products they purchase and they should take reasonable care in using them."