Today, the Commission had a golden opportunity to put a fence around those products definitely covered by the CPSIA as well as exclude those products which we know pose no risk and which do not HAVE TO fall under the statute. The comments received by the public on this proposed interpretive rule defining “children’s product” by and large asked for just this type of clarity. They also made the case for how a number of everyday, safe products could be reasonably excluded from the requirements of the CPSIA—given, of course, that the law has nothing to do with risk.
But instead, the Commission went in the opposite direction, adding in more products than required and adding products even beyond what was first proposed to the public.
The consequences for whether a product is “in” or “out” of the definition are tremendous: if you’re in, you must pay to have your product (every piece of it) third-party tested, certified, and have a tracking label—which has led many small businesses to leave the children’s market or simply close their doors. Oh, and if you make a product for ages in the grey area (age 10, 11, 12….and older) and really needed this rule to let you know where you stand, you may just now be realizing that the final answer is “it depends!” –which means, somebody out there (i.e., the CPSC, a state attorney general, a retailer) may consider your product a children’s product. Manufacturers of furniture, clothing, or products made for the “tween” years may be learning for the first time that they’re even subject to the law’s non-risk-based lead-content standards.
So much for trying to reduce unnecessary government regulation, protect jobs, and preserve choices for consumers—so much for common sense.
Click here for my official statement on the Final Interpretive Rule: Interpretation of a Children’s Product
ALSO: Read the AP story and New York Times Front Page story covering this issue
4 months ago