Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Definition of “Children’s Product:” Whether you’re in, might be in, or still confused...Welcome to the black hole of CPSIA regulation!

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


Rick Woldenberg, Chairman - Learning Resources Inc. said...

The decision on "Children's Products" was shameful not merely because it was poorly conceived. It was also done in flagrant disregard of public comments. Those comments were not answered or considered. The public comment process demands LEGALLY that the comments be considered. The CPSC broke the law.

Next up in the asphyxiation process is Component Testing and the so-called "15 Month Rule". I anticipate similar treatment by the Commission, which is to say, rubber stamp approval in disregard of public comments. The CPSC has become a rogue agency and is no longer confined by law.

Those two rules will be approved because the Democrats are hellbent to leave rulemaking behind. Why? To make sure the testing stay does not have to be extended. IF the testing stay is NOT extended (and I have no hopes that it will), then the game is over. We will not be able to import many useful products or components. We likewise won't be able to sell them.

Hope your kids and grandkids are out of school by then. It's a shame American kids will be learning science by looking at pictures of the real world, rather than experiencing it. I am sure the government knows what it's doing.

I urge you to RESIGN your post rather than participate in a losing vote on those rules. Don't just vote "no" and assert you've done your job. Distance yourself from the madness of the Democrats. Put your energy into finding schools in other countries to send your kids to. That might be more productive.

Richard Woldenberg
Learning Resources, Inc.
Vernon Hills, Illinois

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