April/May Edition 2010
President's Message, me? What! Whose idea was this and what were they thinking?
Anyone who knows me or who has spoken to me knows that is what I am thinking every day. So here goes, my first president’s message.
This organization is fantastic! Getting involved with it professionally and personally is one of the best decisions I have ever made. Every year I make great contacts networking at the events and over the years I have also developed some great friendships.
How did all of this happen?
Well, at my first meeting there was a call to help assemble program binders and stuff bags; someone promised there would be pizza and beer, so I thought I would check it out. It was a long night, but there were a lot of laughs and I met a few people. Then on the third day of the conference, there was an announcement about committee meetings. Again I thought I would check it out. I signed up for one, participated in a few phone calls during the year — not so bad. That committee ended and someone drafted me to help on a different one — the Sponsorship Committee. Well it took me more than seven years to shake that one. But again, great contacts, even more than before!
On a more serious note, one of the real pleasures of being involved with ICPHSO is working with the dedicated and talented product safety professionals who volunteer for ICPHSO. Because of our volunteers ICPHSO has grown in membership and conference attendance. As we grow we also are doing more and exploring new ideas for sharing information.
However, as we grow, we also need more volunteers to serve on our committees. I encourage you to participate, even if this was your first ICPHSO event. We have a number of committees that need a variety of talent. If you would like to get more involved, but aren't sure which committee to pick, give me a call or send me an email. Together, we will find the proper fit.
Finally, I want to extend my thanks to a few key volunteers who really stepped up to the plate to help put together the annual symposium program. I thank all who served on the committee, worked behind the scenes, and in front at the stage. At this time I also would like to recognize the core group that helped assemble the event. Those individuals are: Rachel Weintraub, Nancy Cowles, Marc Schoem, David Baker, Wayne Morris, Bruce Farquhar, Quinn Dodd, Peter Winik, Eric Rubel, Carol Pollack-Nelson, Don Mays, Audrey Brodie, Joan Lawrence, Ross Koeser and our association manager, Paul Rossmann.
As ICPHSO’s new president, I welcome your ideas, thoughts, and anything else over the next year.
I recently received an e-mail from Alan Korn of Safe Kids announcing that April 30, 2010, would be his last day with the organization. This will be a sad day for children worldwide.
Ross Koeser Executive Director, ICPHSO
Virginia Spitler, ICPHSO’s Executive Assistant for more than a decade, died far too young. She was 61 years old.
ICPHSO was managed by another organization from 1993 to 1996. This organization saw no future in ICPHSO and dropped us – we were dead weight, a financial liability.
Soon after, I was elected Executive Director and needed a “right hand person” who was proficient on a computer. I interviewed three people. Two of them ran away as fast as they could when they found out what we could offer. Virginia saw something in me and the organization. I hired her. And, for the next 10 years we were joined at the hip.
Virginia worked part-time out of her two bedroom townhouse; I worked part-time out of my kitchen/dining room.
Today ICPHSO is known as the premier professional organization in the world dealing with consumer product safety – a “must attend” meeting. And this organization was built on the back of Virginia Spitler.
The recent Annual Meeting would not have been a success without the help of our sponsors. A big thank you to:
Platinum Sponsors – Bureau Veritas, CTI Centre Testing International Corporation, TUV Rheinland, SGS and Underwriters Laboratories.
Gold Sponsors – CSA International; CSA Standards; OnSpex; Thermo Scientific; Toy Industry Association, Inc.; XOS.
Silver Sponsors – Arent Fox, Averture, Eastman, IKEA, Lego, Stericycle.
Friend Sponsors -- ADK Information Services, LLC; Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM); ASTM International; Fisher-Price, Inc.; GS1 US; Latham & Watkins, LLP; MET Laboratories; MSR Laboratories, LLC; Specialized Technology Resources, Inc.; The CTC Group, LLC; The Home Depot; YottaMark.
Hospitality Sponsors – Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA); Taggies, Inc.
Scholarship Sponsors – The Art and Creative Materials Institute, Inc.
Thanks also to the Toy Industry Association, Inc. for sponsoring the printed materials for the conference.
The evaluations are in and here are some of the details from ICPHSO’s 17th Annual Meeting and Training Symposium, held in Washington, D.C. It was another record year.
A total of 516 people attended, and this does not include many CPSC and state officials who were not required to register. This is the largest attendance of an ICPHSO meeting in its history.
Following is a brief look at the Symposium. (The full evaluation is specific to speakers/sessions; this summary includes just the general survey questions.)
1. How would you rate the overall value of the Symposium?
A total of 98% rated the Symposium good to excellent.
2. What did you find to be the most valuable part of the Symposium?
CPSC Day was the run-away winner. Responses included:
“I thoroughly enjoyed CPSC day and found it to be the most valuable part of the Symposium. It was good to get confirmation that the questions/issues currently facing our industries are still at the top of CPSC’s mind.”
“I found ALL portions that I attended very valuable. If I have to choose one above the others, it would be the CPSC day. The reason being that there are currently so many issues in the works due to CPSIA.”
The ability to network with fellow safety professionals was the next most mentioned response:
“The sessions are always valuable, but equally important is the opportunity to see your colleagues and meet new attendees.”
“Opportunity to network, listen, learn, share and be a part of a collection of principled like minds in the consumer products area even if they represent a different product.”
“Meeting with other safety professionals and comparing how they are handling today’s issues with regard to safety laws, etc.”
3. What did you find to be the least valuable part of the Symposium?
“A bit too much “basic” presentation material. It seemed that most attendees had good familiarity with basic product safety issues and widely-known CPSIA developments.”
“International presenters without a translator – too hard to follow and understand.”
“It might have been better if there had been some sort of incentive created for the participants to visit the vendors…a game or a prize, etc.”
“Not enough time for questions from the audience.”
4. What was your principal reason for attending the Symposium?
Most of the responses related to education and networking. Examples include:
“To get the most updated information on regulatory issues, and networking, networking, networking.”
“Learn about the latest regulations, meet CPSC officials to “put a face” to the contacts, and meet other industry professionals.”
“Networking, making sure I am up to speed on all regulations, hear what others are doing/saying, understand point of view from CPSC.”
“Networking. I learn from the sessions, but the conference attracts a diverse group of industry experts and the opportunity to meet and talk with others in the industry is worth the price of admission for me.”
“To meet with colleagues who do what I do — great networking, great for benchmarking. To also learn more about what the CPSC is doing or will be doing in regards to upcoming guidance.”
5. How well did the Symposium meet your expectations?
A total of 90% of the respondents stated that the Symposium met or exceeded their expectations. Another 10% stated the Symposium somewhat met their expectations.
7. How would you rate the overall value of the International Day?
A total of 80% rated it good to excellent.
15. How would you rate the overall value of the Workshop Day?
A total of 96% rated it good to excellent.
28. How would you rate the overall value of the CPSC Day?
A total of 96% rated it good to excellent and 99% of the respondents attended CPSC Day.
46. How would you rate the overall value of the ABA Law Seminar?
A total of 92% rated it good to excellent.
50. How would you rate the overall value of the CPSC’s Compliance for Beginners Seminar?
A total of 92% rated it good to excellent.
52. How satisfied were you with the hotel arrangements?
Most of the respondents thought the hotel had a great location, but was very expensive.
54. How satisfied were you with the breaks and lunches?
56. How satisfied were you with the meeting arrangements? (Please consider meeting venue, social events, meeting materials, registration process, etc.)
58. How likely are you to attend future ICPHSO events?
One hundred percent (100%) of the respondents stated that they are very likely or somewhat likely to attend future events.
59. What could we do better in the future?
After reviewing the total evaluations, the issue that the conference organizers need to address is to allow more time for Questions and Answers and audience participation.
“More time is needed for Q&A – perhaps a limit of number of panelists would allow for more time. More interactive sessions would be good; there are experts in the audience as well as on the panels.”
“Better representation from industry, both manufacturers and retailers. I realize many individual companies may be hesitant to participate in some sessions, but groups like JPMA or RILA would be helpful to provide the industry perspective on the issues. At times the discussions can be one-sided if the panels only include legal, regulatory and consumer group members.”
60. Additional Comments about the Symposium
“Number of days that you were allowed to choose to attend the conference, 1, 3, or 4 – why not 2? I am not from the USA so the CPSC and the Law & Compliance Days which are very USA focused are of no use to me. I would like to have been able to pay and to attend only on Monday and Tuesday.”
“A workshop for the next symposium should include testing labs and about the differences between how the testing labs interpret not only the regulations but the toy standards as well. I have found great frustrations with their interpretations, which impact my company’s ability to ship product.”
“I just wanted to say that I felt SO welcomed by your new comers meeting. Your staff is wonderful and have a unique way of embracing new comers. Your kindness really made it easier for me to relax and enjoy myself.”
“There is a real lack of retailers and manufacturers on the panels. It seems that this Symposium is turning into a lawyers’ meeting.”
“Great value for the money – recommend it to all of our suppliers!”
“Keep up the good work. This is the best consumer product safety forum I attend. While I think improvements can always be made, it is still a must-attend for me.”
ICPHSO thanks the 88 people who responded to this survey. Their responses will be fully addressed as the ICPHSO Symposium Planning Committee looks to our 2011 Meeting in Orlando, Florida.
Here is a transcript of the keynote address Inez Tenenbaum gave on Feb. 17 at the ICPHSO Symposium in Washington, D.C.
And I'm pleased to report that we ended 2009 on a high note,
When you look at where we have been and where we are headed, you can see why we are agency on the rise. You can see it in the determination of CPSC staff
When you look at the revitalization that has gone on at the CPSC, state regulators, and advocacy groups, 2010 is shaping up, in my opinion, to be the Year of the Consumer.
So that we never again have the year of the recall, let's continue to work together to put the interests of consumers above all else.
Our achievements in recent months represent a turning of the page on the past. We are now turning to a fresh page and scripting our own future. I believe this is rich with opportunities to retain the public's trust in CPSC.
To keep our focus on what consumers expect of CPSC and what is in their best interest, I have established an ambitious agenda for this new year.
As I stated in recent testimony before Congress, I believe that the safest product in a home with a baby must be the crib. In response to the completely unacceptable number of recalls, deaths and near-deaths in recent years, we are taking action.
Regarding the CPSIA section 104 requirements, I would like everyone to know that there is synergy between my philosophy on voluntary standards and the Act's mandate to create mandatory rules.
And we have a new, expanded Commission. Not always unanimous in our votes, but all committed to keeping children safe.
News of Note top
I just returned from a wonderful trip to Spain, where I was given the opportunity to present at a European Consumer Protection Seminar (the first one with Spain as current president of the European Union) hosted by the Community of Madrid. Government, business and consumer groups talked about the challenges of the European RAPEX incident/recall data system, and cross-border cooperation regarding product safety. Regulatory bodies from Portugal, Spain, France, Canada and the United States all had a chance to discuss current issues and updated regulations related to product safety and regulatory compliance. Close to 300 stakeholders attended the one day conference.
Though European regulators have long been involved and invested in consumer safety, one of the pioneers in consumer affairs and product safety in Spain is Josep Tous of Barcelona. As both parents and entrepreneurial business owners (www.ieconsumo.org), he and his wife, Tica Bosch, have been interested in how best to develop and communicate product safety and consumers rights, and how to show companies that there is a solid financial and ethical business case for developing and implementing a supply chain process that incorporates safety at every stage.
Josep is a former Director General for consumer affairs for the Spanish region of Catalunya, and has recently been instrumental in developing and producing a masters' level university program on consumer affairs, which includes a significant focus on product safety and compliance. This multi-university program is a groundbreaker and bears close watch; very few programs like this exist in the world (St. Louis University recently announced a safety professional certification program to begin this year). Josep also is working with others to develop a training program for Latin America and no doubt will encounter great success with that as well.
The bottom line is this: In a difficult economy, choosing safety over price point is still sometimes a tough sell to Spanish consumers. On the upside, companies in a competitive global environment recognize both the need for compliance and the responsibility to produce consumer products that protect the consumer and provide a competitive edge. It will be interesting to see how this country that equally values art, tradition and innovation embraces and balances safety with economic success, but it is clear they are determined to do so. I look forward to seeing the results.
In December, K&L Gates, LLP served as the primary sponsor for the LexisNexis China Second Annual Product Safety & Liability Conference in Shanghai. Washington, D.C., partner and ICPHSO member Eric Stone discussed key provisions of the Consumer Product Safety Improvements Act of 2008 (CPSIA). He spoke on the implementation of CPSIA during 2009, reviewed enforcement activities and recalls, and discussed upcoming CPSIA deadlines and activities. Pittsburgh partner Dave Klaber, the conference chair, presented an overview of the latest developments in U.S. product liability. He focused on recent recall cases, examined changes to U.S. product safety and liability regulations in 2009, and proposed strategies for mitigating the liability risks when exporting to the United States. The Conference was attended by 170 delegates representing 98 Chinese companies.
The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association’s Certification Program has been named to the 2010 Associations Advance America Honor Roll, a national awards competition sponsored by the American Society of Association Executives and the Center for Association Leadership, Washington, D.C.
The goal of the Certification program is to educate parents on providing the safest environment for their children through proper selection and use of juvenile products. The JPMA Certification Program strives to aid parents in creating a safe environment for their babies and ensure that caregivers feel at ease knowing the products their children use are tested to the highest safety standards available today. Since the program’s inception in 1976, more than 2,000 products, in 20 categories, have been JPMA Certified.
“JPMA is proud to receive this recognition from ASAE,” said Michael Dwyer, JPMA Executive Director. “The JPMA Certification Program serves as a great example of the vital role that associations play in improving the quality of life in communities across the country.”
“The JPMA Certification Program truly embodies the spirit of the Associations Advance America campaign. It is an honor and an inspiration to showcase JPMA’s work as an example of the many contributions associations are making to advance American society,” said Associations Advance America Committee Chair Ping Wei, director of educational opportunities for the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Now in its 20th year, the prestigious Associations Advance America (AAA) Awards program recognizes associations that propel America forward – with innovative projects in education, skills training, standards setting, business and social innovation, knowledge creation, citizenship and community service. The JPMA Certification Program is one of only 24 selected for this recognition.
The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) is a national trade organization of more than 250 companies in the United States, Canada and Mexico. JPMA exists to advance the interests, growth and well-being of North American prenatal to preschool product manufacturers, importers and distributors marketing under their own brands to consumers. It does so through advocacy, public relations, information sharing, product performance certification and business development assistance conducted with appreciation for the needs of parents, children and retailers.
ASAE (American Society of Association Executives) is the membership organization and voice of the association profession. Founded in 1920, ASAE now has more than 22,000 association CEOs, staff professionals, industry partners and consultant members. The Center for Association Leadership is the premier provider of learning and knowledge for the association community. The Center was founded in 2001. ASAE & The Center serve approximately 10,000 associations that represent more than 287 million people and organizations worldwide.
CPSC has been meeting in closed-door sessions with representatives of about 30 state attorneys general offices, according to Compliance Director Gib Mullan in an article in the Product Safety Letter. At an October meeting of ICPHSO, he explains that there was been significant interest from the state enforcers in a “coordinated enforcement approach” to the CPSIA and that he expects regular discussion.
The CPSIA in Section 218 gave state attorneys general certain enforcement powers, such as stopping sales of violative, banned or recalled items. A concern has been that the Ads might act in contrast to CPSC. For example, in 2009 Mullan noted that although CPSC has a stay in place until February 2010 related to CPSIA certification provisions, state AGs were empowered to enforce those provisions and were not bound to respect CPSC’s stay. In response, a representative of the California Attorney Generals office said that states would be unlikely to move counter to CPSC’s stay, especially because it would mean convincing a federal judge to act despite the wishes of a federal agency. See CPSC overview of Section 219 at www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/sect218.html.
Spain was the top RAPEX reporter in the first 10 months of 2009, according to an EU report made available in December. Spain made 178 reports over that time. Two other nations topped 100 notices: Germany (157) and Greece (146). Other busy reporters wee Bulgaria (93), the United Kingdom (89), Poland (86) and Slovakia and Hungary (84 each). Toys led the product categories with 414 reports. Others with many reports were clothing, textiles and fashion items (304); motor vehicles (129); electrical appliances (105); and cosmetics (72). The most frequently reported risk was chemical (435), followed by injuries (341) choking (224), shock (172), strangulation (134), fire (100) and burns (77). A copy of the report is available from ec.europa.eu/consumers/safety/rapex/docs/stats_01-10_2009.pdf.
On Jan. 15, the CPSP sent three recommendations to congress for improving the CPSIA. The suggestions received unanimous support from commissioners. The first involves flexibility in applying the section 101(a) lead provisions. The commission mentions children’s off-road vehicles, bicycles and books as items that are falling under the lead-content restrictions and suggests that Congress likely did not intend that. While not going into specifics, commissions asked for flexibility to help it deal with such unintended situations. Second is a request to exclude children’s books and other “paper-based printed material” from the 101(a) lead restrictions. Third, the commission seeks a lifting of the retroactivity of the coming 100 parts-per-million (ppm) lead limit. The commission points to resellers and notes that the 100-ppm limit will come into force only if technologically feasible. It thus urges that the limit apply only to products made after it becomes effective. A fourth item in the recommendations sections – addressing small businesses and crafters – is simply a statement that the commission will continue to consider their needs during rulemakings. It does not recommend any changes.
CPSC Chairman Inez M. Tenenbaum originally planned to attend the APEC Toy Safety Initiative Open Dialogue in Hong Kong on Jan. 12, 2010. Instead, she spoke via video.
Before continuing, please allow me to acknowledge those who worked so hard to make this event possible from both the private sector, under TIA’s sponsorship, and within governments. I would like to thank especially Ms. Jamie Ferman, the Project Overseer, whose tireless efforts ensured a great meeting in Singapore, last year, and made possible our gathering here today.
As Chairman of CPSC — one of the key U.S. safety agencies and a partner agency for many of you – I am very interested in the work of this Toy Safety Initiative. APEC economies produce the vast majority of the toys imported to the United States, and almost certainly the majority of the toys consumed in the world. We have an inherent partnership as the consuming and producing economies, and a mutual interest in strong safety standards to save lives, especially the lives of children.
To this end, I believe U.S. and international regulators must build on the success that has come from working together and encouraging the improvement of existing toy standards and the creation of any standards needed to address emerging toy hazards. Our experience suggests that the most pressing emerging hazards include:
It is the role of product safety regulators to ensure that all of these hazards are addressed by manufacturers and that they are not allowed to harm our children.
The U.S. experience with safety standards has been that you get a great deal of product safety by relying on robust voluntary consensus standards coupled with regulatory authority to intervene quickly in specific cases. This is a useful combination because most of the expertise for safe design and manufacturing is in industry, not in government.
That’s why U.S. law originally set a preference for voluntary standards over mandatory regulations. This approach allows CPSC to rely upon voluntary standards if they are robust enough to eliminate or adequately reduce the risk of injury addressed and to act if the standards fall short. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 – the CPSIA – recognized this principle when it made the ASTM F-963 toy standard mandatory. Yes, the law resulted in new federal toy regulations to address the market’s failure to meet the public’s concerns about safety — and CPSC will review the standard periodically to ensure that it is adequate — but the F-963 reference standard can continue to evolve largely in the private sector.
For example, consider how the toy industry’s record on safety has improved since the summer of 2007 when so many toys had to be recalled. With $22 billion worth of toys being imported annually from APEC economies into the United States, there were only 41 toy recalls in our jurisdiction during 2009. That figure compares very favorably to 2008, when there were 162 toy recalls.
Although we have a lot still to do, progress such as this makes me optimistic that we can accomplish even more.
The CPSIA was the United States Congress’ answer to the deficiency it saw in production and supply chain practices and an inadequate level of conformity assurance for children’s products. In some cases, such as lead and phthalate levels, the law is very specific, but in general, it creates a new paradigm for standards, regulations, and conformance assurances when it comes to toys and other children’s products. It creates a system that fosters constructive change – change by U.S. toy designers and importers and by foreign supply chain managers and testing lab operators.
Congress put in place additional safeguards for manufacturer-owned labs and labs owned or controlled in whole or in part by a government – but they, too, must meet the baseline requirements I have described.
The CPSIA is also decisive in its ban on phthalates. The U.S. Congress mandated that three types of phthalates would be permanently banned, and three others would be temporarily banned, while being studied further. To facilitate that study, our Commission approved, during December 2009, the appointment of seven independent scientists to serve on a Chronic Hazard Advisory Panel — we call that a “CHAP” — to assess the potential health risks from exposure to phthalates and phthalate substitutes.
For the three phthalates that were banned permanently, toys for children 12 and under are prohibited from having more than .1 percent phthalates. This rule went into effect on Feb. 10, 2009, and manufacturers, importers and retailers in the United States must comply with it.
The stay of enforcement will remain in effect for the children’s products I just listed while CPSC continues to work toward recognizing labs. To maximize successful transition to these requirements, independent third party testing and certification will only be required for these categories of children’s products 90 days after CPSC publishes the laboratory accreditation requirements for any individual category in the U.S. Federal Register.
The Commission also voted to extend the stay on certification and third party testing for children’s products subject to U.S. lead content limits. That stay is extended until Feb. 10, 2011. Under this decision, products must now meet the current 300 ppm lead limit, but certification and third party testing to show compliance will be required for all children’s products manufactured after Feb. 10, 2011. It is important to note that many major retailers in the United States have demanded, and most likely will continue to demand, independent testing and certification from their suppliers in order to have their products placed in their stores.
The stay of enforcement will end on Feb. 10, 2010 for four children’s products: bicycle helmets, bunk beds, infant rattles and dive sticks. Any of these children’s products, if manufactured after Feb. 10, 2010, will be required to have certification based on independent third party testing. The testing must be conducted by a laboratory recognized by CPSC.
The Commission has decided not to require a General Certificate of Conformity for children’s products. Certifications for children’s products will be specific to regulated requirements once the stay of enforcement is lifted and third party testing is mandatory for products subject to those regulations.
For lead in paint, they may obtain test reports from recognized independent third party testing labs showing that each paint on the product complies with the 90 ppm lead paint limit. OR they may have certificates from paint suppliers declaring that all their paint on the product complies with the 90 ppm lead limit, based on testing by recognized independent third party testing laboratories.
I must stress that while the stay of enforcement remains in effect for the certification and testing requirements for certain products, all products must comply with the safety standards and bans of the law. This includes the limits for lead content, lead paint, the ban on certain phthalates and the ASTM F-963 mandatory toy standard.
On our end, we will continue to put timely information on our Web site – in English and in other languages — for reference by stakeholders. And we will continue web-based interactive training seminars that will provide practical information for industry as it seeks to comply with U.S. requirements. One such webinar for Chinese toy suppliers took place only last month.
While the stay of enforcement from testing and certification to F-963 compliance is in place, CPSC staff is working hard to develop testing protocols and accreditation rules for the regulatory implementation of each part of F-963. When the stay of enforcement is lifted, domestic manufacturers, importers, and their suppliers will be expected to comply. Let me take a moment to make a prediction early on in 2010 related to F-963. I believe that the heavy metals cited in F-963, especially cadmium, are going to attract attention in the United States from consumer advocates, the media, and parents. I would highly encourage all of you to ensure that toy manufacturers and children’s product manufacturers in your country are not substituting cadmium, antimony, barium, in place of lead. All of us should be committed to keeping hazardous or toxic levels of heavy metals out of surface coatings and substrates of toys and children's products.
With the vast majority of toys consumed in the United States being imported from APEC economies, my agency fully recognizes that we live in a global marketplace. I am increasingly convinced that we regulators must increase our cooperation to best serve our consumers. As CPSC goes about the continued implementation of the CPSIA and our review of F-963, I assure you that we will be looking outward to find ways to harmonize our approach with our global partners unless cultural, economic, or other considerations warrant a unique solution.
One area where we have seen an increasing convergence of views on the right approach to increasing the safety of toys and other products is in the need for a systematic improvement of practices in the supply and distribution chain. During October of 2009, CPSC and AQSIQ met for our third Biennial Consumer Product Safety Summit. AQSIQ stated its recognition that consumer product manufacturers should work hard to guarantee quality and improve safety. It affirmed the importance of product safety and quality best practices through its supervision over consumer product manufacturers, which incorporates a risk rating system for products. It announced and is implementing New Regulation of Inspection and Supervision on Import and Export Toy by emphasizing product design, control of raw material, and product quality control to ensure that toys conform with relevant product safety requirements.
We at CPSC made clear our intentions to emphasize the need for U.S. importers to be more accountable as members of the supply and distribution chain. This includes addressing accountability for importers with regard to conformity assurance during production in a Final Rule on factors to be considered in assessing civil penalties, and creation and promotion of a new publication: “Handbook for Importing Safer Consumer Products.”
Additionally, we are planning to produce a series of webinars for U.S. importers of consumer products, focusing on the steps necessary to ensure adequate and relevant pre-market and production testing, including the need to ensure that foreign production facilities are knowledgeable about the federal product safety requirements that apply to the product being made.
Although we may be on our way out of the global recession, Asian toy suppliers have a long way to go before the red ink is behind them. I recognize that as my agency implements the CPSIA, international coordination in establishing and communicating new requirements can help the toy industry stay competitive in a world of international trade. I am as committed to transparency as I am to enforcement and as we go forward, I hope all of you will work closely with us through our comments process and open proceedings. It is essential that we find common ground through dialogue on “building safety into toys and children’s products.” The consequences of not building safety into a product, especially in a dynamic environment where there are not yet performance standards, can be grave – a lesson we have learned from magnets and which we cannot afford to ignore.
Voluntary efforts will only take us so far. In the U.S. market, the CPSIA has moved the emphasis on safety and conformance with standards as far up the supply chain as possible and performance by the various actors in the supply chain will be regulated. Over the next few weeks and months, CPSC will have to make tough decisions about whether manufacturing supply chains really are meeting new accountability requirements.
Let me close my remarks, by assuring you of my intention to focus on international cooperation – with China, with Europe, and with other key economies as our agency goes forward with its implementation of the CPSIA. I appreciate very much APEC providing an opportunity for me to once again share my thoughts on the challenges we face and opportunities before us as toy safety regulators.
NSF International, an independent, not-for-profit organization that develops public health standards for food, water, dietary supplements and consumer goods, announced that it has obtained toy safety accreditation from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) under the new Toy Industry Association (TIA) Toy Safety Certification Program (TSCP). NSF International is one of the first certification bodies approved by ANSI, the authority on U.S. standards and conformity assessment systems, to verify that products meet TSCP requirements. With 29 million children’s products recalled in 2008 and growing concerns among U.S. families about the safety of their children’s toys, TSCP directly addresses these concerns. The TSCP was created by TIA working in conjunction with ANSI to enhance the confidence of regulators, toy companies, retailers and consumers. The TSCP requirements include meeting the new federal legislation mandating that toys be tested by a qualified lab, as well as certified that they meet rigorous national safety standards and retailer requirements, which include heavy metals testing (lead and others), choking/small parts testing, mechanical and physical safety, flammability, chemical composition, phthalate content and electrical safety. This accreditation from ANSI broadens the scope of NSF’s existing International Accreditation Service (IAS). IAS accreditation confirms that NSF International’s toy testing services are conducted in compliance with U.S. and international standards, as well as the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). To become accredited by ANSI to verify compliance with the TSCP requirements, NSF International met all of ANSI’s product certification accreditation requirements, which included a field audit review and a quality systems process audit. “Making toys safer and protecting children’s health are important components of NSF International’s public health and safety mission. We have worked with ANSI to develop many standards during our 65 years and are honored to achieve toy safety accreditation to help lead the way in making toys safer,” said Dave Parzen, Business Unit Manager for NSF International's Consumer Product Safety Program. Manufacturers and retailers can also rely on NSF International’s toy safety resources for current information on regulations and standards.
SGS Consumer Testing Services announced new global services to help electronic products manufacturers and retailers comply with the EU’s EcoDesign Directive for reducing the environmental impact of energy-using products (EuP) throughout their lifecycle. All products that use electricity must meet the directive’s environmental performance requirements or risk penalties including removal from the EU market.
SGS’s EuP services include energy efficiency testing to determine whether products are compliant with the directive’s requirements. SGS also offers EuP training seminars, product portfolio assessments to plan for upcoming compliance deadlines, assistance in preparing the technical documentation files required by the directive, CE marking indicating product compliance with the relevant EU health and safety requirements, and ecodesign consulting addressing areas ranging from energy consumption to hazardous substances and end-of-life handling.
Jim Buell has joined STR’s Quality Assurance Services business as its new Global Sales Director. He will be responsible for helping to increase the company’s consumer product quality testing, audit, certification, and responsible sourcing business around the world. Mr. Buell, who has more than 30 years of consumer product experience, joined STR from Regal Ware Worldwide. He has also worked at JohnsonDiversey, the Clorox Company, and Procter & Gamble. He recently attended the ICPHSO conference and noted, “It was particularly helpful to hear directly from CPSC members about the issues they are addressing to keep the U.S. consumer safe. It was also energizing to be in a room filled with professionals focused on finding ways to protect the consuming public. “I am very excited about my new job and working in this very important industry.”
UL Environment Inc. is leading a collaborative effort to develop sustainability standards for indoor and outdoor lighting. The standards will assist consumers, designers, architects, and building operators to identify sustainable options for interior and exterior light fixtures, LED modules, and lighting components. UL Environment will seek input and knowledge from Standard Technical Panels comprised of manufacturers, government entities, non-governmental organizations, and consumer groups. The standards will consider a variety of environmental elements to make it possible for manufacturers to highlight their sustainability achievements.
This is the seventh sustainability standards development effort UL Environment has initiated since the business launched in January 2009. UL Environment expects initial drafts of the lighting standards to be completed in 2010.
12. XOS Demonstrates New Technology for Detection of Cadmium in Children’s Jewelry: HDXRF Instrument Helps Enable Enforcement of Sen. Schumer Bill
In the wake of several widespread reports of the presence of cadmium and other toxic elements in children’s jewelry, Sen. Schumer recently introduced legislation that would, for the first time, ban cadmium, barium and antimony in these products. While lead has been banned in such products for years, these other toxic elements referenced in Senator Schumer’s bill have not. XOS Inc., which fully supports Senator Schumer’s legislation, showed him firsthand how HDXRF enables manufacturers and government enforcement agencies to detect these and other toxic elements.
13. European Two-Year Joint Action on Non Child-Resistant Lighters and Novelty Lighters Ends, A Three-Year Follow-up Action Takes Over
Long cords and drawstrings on children’s clothing present a serious risk to children everywhere in the world. For example, the United States has seen a large number of recalls in recent years of clothes with dangerous cords or drawstrings. The problem is also common in Europe and therefore PROSAFE and market surveillance authorities from 11 Member States have run a joint action supported by the European Commission, DG SANCO, to decrease the exposure of children to these risks by removing dangerous clothes from the market.
The joint action started in August 2008 and ended this February. The main achievements include:
Two-thirds of the non-compliant garments were for small children (0 – 7 years). The rest were for older children (up to 14 years). The most common non-compliance was related to cords and drawstrings in the hood and neck area that accounted for more than 60% of all non-compliances. Cords and drawstrings in the chest and waist area accounted for another almost 20%.
PROSAFE and the participating Member States issued a press release with the detailed results as per 30th of November 2009 in conjunction with the final workshop from the joint action (attached). The full press release and more information are available from www.PROSAFE.org. Follow the links to "News & Events."
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