Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My Recommendations to Congress

I believe that the CPSIA should be amended to reflect the real risks associated with lead absorption. I wholeheartedly supported the consensus recommendations in the agency’s report to Congress, however, my statement suggested several additional amendments that were not included in the Commission’s consensus report:

1. Focus CPSC resources on what we know may actually harm children: Only require third-party testing and certification for products that may contain more than a de minimis amount of absorbable lead (i.e., an amount that could meaningfully raise a child’s blood lead level)

2. Provide the agency flexibility in treating products for 12-month-olds and products for 12-year-olds differently, according to risk: An 8-year-old is not going to suck on a bicycle tire valve stem, and it makes no sense to ban lead in such a component where there is no risk of harm to a child.

3. Give the Commission flexibility to provide relief to small businesses: We have been informed by agency staff that the current statute does not allow this.

4. Avoid adding new exclusions to the statute that would be arbitrary, subjective, unreliable, and only available to companies that can afford to petition the agency: For example, a so-called functional purpose exemption would be all of these things—and it would also radically transform the CPSC into a product pre-approval agency. Statutory exemptions should be written in such a way that those who qualify for them can take advantage of them without agency sign-off.

5. Allow thrift stores, garage sales, and other resellers to sell second-hand goods: Under the CPSIA, the statutory limits for lead and phthalate content prohibit resale, even where the agency has never found these items to be unsafe. This policy threatens to put an end to the second-hand children’s clothing market.

To read my statement that accompanied the CPSC report, click here

To read the CPSC's report, click here

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