Today is the last day to submit comments to the CPSC regarding the appropriateness to allow certified or third party tested components to be used in lieu of costly final product testing. If you haven't done to, I strongly encourage you to submit your comments now. Take 1 minute and click here to access a prepared letter that all you have to do is add your name and address and click send. What could be easier? Do it now, the day will soon be over.
Here is a copy of the letter I submitted:
Mr. Todd Stevenson,Office of the Secretary
I am writing to express my very strong support for an interpretation of the third-party testing requirements under Section 102 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) that would permit testing and certification of component parts at the component level, rather than after the product is finished.
My company is an importer of natural toys, and we manufacture two wooden products here in Massachusetts. If we are forced to third party test each SKU rather than use certified compliant components, or test those components for compliance prior to production, our product range will plummet from 1,000 SKUs to less than 150. This will have serious implications on the viability of our business. We are not unique; other companies would face the same challenges, with many exiting the children’s products market, or closing down altogether.
As a company that has been dedicated to the quality and safety of its products since our inception, we feel strongly about ensuring product integrity. Among other things, we have been selling organic cotton dolls since 2001, before organic was in style, because of our concern about harmful pesticides (not lead, since lead is not found in cotton of any kind). We offer wooden toys painted with water based paints that meet a much stricter lead standard than even the CPSIA. We have done this long before toy safety was in the news, and have done it because it was the right thing to do.
It would be a natural, and reasonable practice to base CPSIA compliance program on the internationally recognized certifications of our materials, whether they be organic cotton (GOTS Certified), or otherwise. Where such certifications are not available, the manufacturer should have the option to have such materials third party tested prior to manufacture.
The idea that final products should be tested out of a fear of uncertified (“tainted”) materials being substituted assumes that since one large company substituted tainted materials, there is a reasonably risk that the rest of the children’s products industry are likely to do the same.
First, the vast majority of materials covered by the CPSIA do not even have a risk of containing lead in the first place. Second, with very few exceptions, the children’s products industry has proven itself capable of controlling its supply chain and the manufacture of its products. With the added awareness, rules, and disproportionate & draconian penalties for any error, it is highly unlikely that a company would make such substitutions.
Second, even if one takes the faulty position that the risk of substitution remains, testing based on the final product is the wrong solution. This is because, the very companies the CPSIA is trying to prevent from conducting non-compliant substitutions, are the same unscrupulous companies that could just as well substitute "tainted" finished products into the market.
It does not make sense to impose such extreme & expensive rules on businesses when those rules do not in any way ensure a different outcome versus more reasonable testing & certification procedures.
Additionally, component level testing affords companies the ability to correct product safety defects in a timely and inexpensive manner. If a company finds a safety flaw in a component, that component can quickly be substituted out with a safe alternative. But if testing is required to be done at the finished product stage, defective components will lead to a defective finished product.
Another critical argument in favor or component testing include the environmental impact of testing & destroying innumerable final products using harsh chemicals which then enter the environment.
It will also ensure the availability and safety of one of a kind and other low volume products which are critical to ensuring creativity and product diversity in the life of a child, and the survival of cottage industries so vital to the American economy and way of life.
Allowing the testing of components is a simple, yet vital, step in the right direction to save tens of thousands of companies negatively affected by the CPSIA. I urge the Commission to quickly adopt and promulgate a common sense rule that permits component level testing and certification under Section 102.
Vice President, Challenge & Fun, Inc.
Founder & Administrator, CPSIA-Central.Ning.Com
Member, Handmade Toy Alliance