NAM Says Consumer Product Safety Law Actually Hindering Safety

National Association of Manufacturers President John Engler on Tuesday issued a statement saying improvements are needed in the 2008 Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act because the law is keeping the Consumer Product Safety Commission from effectively doing its job. On March 20, CPSC sent a letter to Congress noting that implementation of the 2008 act banning lead and phthalates from children’s toys has “impacted our ongoing safety mission by delaying and deferring work in many other areas.” Engler said CPSC's message "clearly indicates that legislative changes are necessary to fix the flaws" in the law, the mandates of which are both unnecessary and actually hindering consumer safety by overwhelming the agency's staff and delaying other efforts.

"The law's overly broad approach applies to products that that should not be evaluated using the same safety criteria as products that do pose a risk," Engler said in the statement. "The law's unrealistic compliance deadlines made it impossible for industry or the CPSC to adequately prepare before the law went into effect. Its unprecedented decision to retroactively apply the new lead standards and phthalates ban to inventory already sitting in stores and warehouses is causing massive disruptions to industries across the board, particularly small and medium-sized companies."

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., NAM represents small and large manufacturers in all 50 states and every industrial sector, many of which have been negatively impacted by implementation of the 2008 act, Engler said. "This misguided law has triggered the destruction of millions of safe products, costing businesses billions of dollars during one of the worst economic crises in U.S. history," he said. "Youth model All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) and dirt bikes are no longer available because of their lead content, even though they pose no risk to riders. The CPSC staff agrees that banning these products will result in more children using adult-size ATVs as a substitute, which will pose 'far graver and more immediate risk.' Ball point pens, bicycles, safe apparel, older library books, and other products will also be unnecessarily banned if Congress does not act."

Engler added, "Congress can no longer ignore the calls of thousands of small businesses and companies of all sizes to hold public hearings on this problem and fix the law." The CPSC letter to Congress is available at www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/dingell032009.pdf.

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