Alphabet Soup of Promo Products Industry: CPSC, WBENC, ETS and QCA Webinar
Commissioners of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), old and new, are in print this week. While style and subject are in stark contrast, both are worth a read.
Former CPSC commissioner Nancy Nord, always counted on to be critical of her former employer, doesn't disappoint. Her article is on the testing burden of phthalates (a chemical very familiar to our industry that's long been used as a "plasticizers" to soften plastics) and what the CPSC is doing to lessen that burden on suppliers for third-party testing. Simply put, if the CPSC can gather data that a product can never contain phthalates then it wouldn't require testing. As Nord points out, that might work for simple products like fabrics or wood, where predicting the non-use of phthalates is intuitive. But predicting the future of plastics would be like saying the "Moon isn't made of green cheese." Nord's acerbic wit first contrasts what we know now about the planet, with the future likely makeup of the moon, and then again with the likelihood of an unscrupulous manufacturer EVER again using phthalates in the future. "You never know ...," and, of course, you can never prove a negative.
Newer, but also former, Commissioner Inez Tenenbaum was published this week, as well on the ExpertSOLUTIONS Blog from Stericycle. In what could be viewed as an about-face for the CPSC, Tenenbaum discusses the benefits of having a third party conduct a recall required by her agency. Her points are certainly valid: that the rigors of an in-house recall may take energy away from other key components of a recall plan, things like public communication, ongoing PR and a media plan, as well as the logigistics involved in actually locating defective product. This is especially interesting as the CPSC has previously touted in-house recalls as the only way to go. Former Commissioner Tenenbaum's platform for this discussion is also an interesting choice—Stericycle, a firm that just so happens to offer third-party recall services, retrieval, and audit.
Jeff is executive director of the Quality Certification Alliance (QCA). Prior to that, he was responsible for developing safe and compliant brand merchandise for Michelin. He has worked with brands in publishing, consumer products, broadcasting and film for over 30 years. Follow Jeff on Twitter, and QCA on Facebook.