Winter/Spring Edition 2009
What a year for product safety in the U.S.—new landmark product safety legislation, multiple rulemakings at the CPSC implementing the CPSIA, and the election of a new Administration. 2009 will likely bring a new CPSC Chairman, and some media outlets are even suggesting that President Obama may reinvigorate the Office of Consumer Affairs in the Office of the President. In Canada, there continues to be a discussion about passage of a new product safety law in that country. And in Europe, the European Commission continues to implement the General Product Safety Directive.
The only professional association that deals with all of these issues is ICPHSO. ICPHSO is THE forum for international product safety issues. Over the past two years, ICPHSO has held symposiums in Washington, Brussels, Beijing, Chicago and Orlando. ICPHSO is considering future symposiums in Tokyo, London and Washington (confirmed for February 2010). The ICPHSO Web site is full of valuable information from our last two symposiums (Chicago and Brussels). Some of you checking for this information will see that it is now password protected—the information is available only to members. ICPHSO has grown up. We are now a true membership organization. If you have not joined, I encourage you to do so immediately. By joining, you indicate that you are a professional involved in product safety regulation. By joining, you also get large discounts on conference registrations. So please take a moment to go to www.icphso.org and become a member of the organization.
I look forward to seeing you at our annual symposium at the Florida Hotel and Conference Center in Orlando in February.
Thanks for your support of ICPHSO!
David H. Baker
ICPHSO has been very fortunate during the 16 years of its existence. Basically every year has exceeded the previous year in terms of attendance and monies generated. Sure, there may have been a minor bump in the road, but nothing has hit us like the global financial crisis we have reluctantly entered.
How this will affect ICPHSO's bottom line only time will tell. But one thing is certain—it will! Listen to what one of our Board of Directors has to say.
"I am not sure how it is for others, but the economic cycle is hitting many of my member companies very hard. If it has not hit the legal, consumer advocacy, testing agencies, or retail yet, count yourselves lucky, but watch out. The economy is very soft and travel budgets are the first thing to go. And, even if the economy improves in early 2009, it will take business and other sectors at least 1 to 2 years to catch up. Companies are sending 1 person to even domestic meetings, not 2-3."
In the last couple of months three of our Board Members have lost their jobs and a fourth surprised us with an early retirement.
All the numbers are not in, but there is some concern that the funds generated through sponsors will be less than projected. And if the workshop rooms are not filled to near capacity, blame it on the soft economy.
ICPHSO was planning to manage a meeting in Tokyo this coming October, but again, this was rescheduled to October 2010 or later. Same story—weak economy.
By nature I am an optimist, so I will be watching our numbers very closely. Year after year, ICPHSO exceeds my expectations, so why not again in 2009? With your continued support, ICPHSO will weather this crisis and come out as strong as ever. See you in Orlando.
ICPHSO held its fourth European meeting and Training Symposium in Brussels in Belgium on the 18th and 19th of November, 2008.
The meeting was once again very well attended with around 200 registered delegates from over 30 countries from around the world. This number represents almost a 25% increase over the meeting in 2006. These are excellent results considering the current economic situation which we know prevented a number of potential delegates from attending the event. Of particular note was the almost 50 strong delegation from China, which served to underline the broad global reach and relevance of ICPHSO. ICPHSO is again extremely grateful for the very generous support of the European Commission who hosted us in Brussels and the many other sponsors who were associated with the event.
The emphasis at this ICPHSO meeting was placed on considering new and emerging issues. The workshop sessions dealt with issues as diverse as nanotechnology, age grading and labeling and environmental and health aspects of product safety and counterfeiting. The whole supply chain was under scrutiny with a workshop on quality processes in the global supply chain and a special afternoon plenary session devoted to the European product safety system and the supply chain. The opportunities for global harmonization of standards and requirements was also examined in a session on the convergence of regulatory requirements. In their keynote plenary presentations, representatives of the U.S., the EU and China all played tribute to the role of ICPHSO as a truly unique global forum for the discussion of non-food product safety issues. All the presentations are available to ICPHSO members on the ICPHSO Web site.
The ICPHSO meeting was the key public event of the International Product Safety Week being hosted by the European Commission. This series of events brought together a broad range of stakeholders interested in non-food product safety. Regulators from around the world were represented, as were businesses, consumer associations, standards developers, and test laboratories.
The positioning of ICPHSO within the International Product Safety Week helped emphasize the important role that ICPHSO plays on the international stage in helping to stimulate and influence some of the many other initiatives that were featured during the week. While the ability of ICPHSO itself to take direct action on many of the issues it raises is almost nil, the forum it provides for the exchange of views amongst a truly international multi-stakeholder audience is a unique contribution to shaping the agenda for non-food product safety at the international level.
The ICPHSO Board is actively considering further international initiatives including a second Asian meeting in Japan tentatively scheduled for 2010 in Japan. Other potential synergies with the OECD, ICPSC and the European market surveillance project EMARS will also be considered. The International Caucus of ICPHSO in Orlando in February is set to feature a mini-workshop on product traceability. The program is being drawn up by the ICPSC, the regulatory caucus that has developed from early meetings of the ICPHSO international caucus.
These wonderful snapshots come to us courtesy of Eli Szamosi. Thank you, Eli, for taking these photos. More photos can be found online by clicking here.
A heartfelt thanks goes out to all of the sponsors for the ICPHSO event in Brussels. We could not do it without your support.
AHAM – Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers
ICPHSO News top
If you are already a member of ICPHSO (the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization), great! We thank you for your dedication to our organization. If not, you should join today! We currently have 178 members, and we're looking for more! We also ask that everyone help spread the word about our mission to their colleagues.
ICPHSO was founded in 1993 as a not-for-profit organization dedicated to addressing health and safety issues related to consumer products marketed globally. ICPHSO is the only organization that attracts an international membership of health and safety professionals who meet annually to exchange ideas and share information. Our 2008 annual symposium drew 450 attendees and presenters from 18 countries. Every year since its inception, ICPHSO has enjoyed an increase in participation from consumers and consumer advocates and groups, government agencies, businesses, legal firms, and academia.
You can help ICPHSO continue its mission of addressing consumer product health and safety issues by becoming a member. Memberships are available at several levels, and all levels of membership enjoy benefits such as: discounted conference rates, opportunities to network via our membership directory, which is available to members only, and online access to presentations made by highly respected health and safety professionals.
Some of the Benefits an ICPHSO Membership Offers:
Our members are:
The membership categories, benefits, and pricing information (dues) can be found by clicking here.
If you have any questions about membership in ICPHSO, contact our Membership Department at (414) 908-4930, Ext. 116 or by e-mail: email@example.com.
The time is fast approaching for ICPHSO's 16th Annual Meeting and Training Symposium taking place in Orlando, Florida February 24-27, 2009. With recent meetings in Brussels, Washington, D.C., and Beijing, we can say that ICPHSO is truly an international organization, and we are looking forward to meeting the many consumer product safety professionals that come from around the world to discuss current issues and common concerns.
ICPHSO continues to be a tremendous bargain. Over half of your registration fee goes towards meals, speakers, and other administrative costs associated with running a conference. This fact demonstrates ICPHSO's commitment to its members and we want to ensure that our conferences are quality events for our members first. However, the main reason you need to attend this Symposium is that ICPHSO is unique in bringing together most of the key players in consumer product safety: regulators, retailers, manufacturers, consumers, standards and testing organizations, researchers, attorneys, and more. This wide array of consumer product safety professionals gathers at ICPHSO’s Symposiums to share information and best practices. Attracting over 400 attendees, ICPHSO’s Symposium is recognized as the pre-eminent event for consumer product safety professionals worldwide.
You can view the Symposium Agenda by going clicking on the Agenda tab on the conference web site. We feel the topics represent a variety of issues on the minds of consumer product safety professionals around the globe. In addition, we are proud of the top-notch speakers we have assembled to address these topics. The warm Florida breezes in February should also make this a must-attend event. See you in Orlando.
David H. Baker
Click here for more information.
A Special Address: Mainstreaming Safety in Existing EC Policies: Meglena Kuneva, European Commissioner for Consumer Protection top
It is a pleasure for me to address this second edition of the European
conference on injury prevention and safety promotion.
When I redefined Europe's consumer strategy last year, my aim was to give power to European consumers and make Europe a safe place for them to live.
Let me first share with you some figures indicating how citizens feel about safety in Europe. The latest Euro-barometer on Consumer protection in the internal market showed that 48% of the European respondents think that a small number of products are unsafe, and 17% of all interviewed persons responded that essentially all products are safe. These results are certainly encouraging and recognition of the efforts made by all those involved in product safety–business, public authorities, NGOs–at local, national, European and international level.
But this is not good enough. There are still unsafe products that slip through our safety net. One illustration of this is that 2% of Euro-barometer respondents mentioned having suffered an injury due to a faulty product. The Commission's RAPEX statistics also show a constant increase in the number of dangerous products taken off the market.
As long as products which can cause injuries or other incidents still manage to make their way into our market and into our homes, we have to remain watchful and step up our actions. This is an issue of particular concern to me: here we are not confronted with “counterfeited” goods–which are a real menace for product safety and for the economy in general. Here we have legitimate products, global manufacturers, and regular supply chains. But if something goes wrong at the production point, and it is not addressed immediately and effectively throughout the supply chain, then consumer safety is at risk. And I would like to underline again–trust is the currency of consumer economy.
You will remember that just over a year ago, we saw millions of toys being pulled off the shelves all over the world. Consumer confidence took a big knock as a succession of similar stories hit the headlines.
This unprecedented recall was all the more worrying, as toys are not like any other consumer product. Toys are special: they have an important role in our children's physical and mental development. They encourage creativity, unleash imagination, and trigger discovery. This is why recalls of toys can have such serious effects on consumer confidence.
It is also why I carried out, with the help of fellow Commissioners, a wide-ranging stocktaking exercise, using the case of the toy recalls, to review the strengths and weaknesses of the consumer product safety mechanisms in place in Europe. This exercise concluded that the overall framework for ensuring product safety is sound but that implementation has to be improved and that a number of specific issues and emerging risks should be addressed with targeted measures.
In particular for magnets in toys, the Commission adopted in April a temporary decision requiring that toys containing magnets must display a visible warning of the serious risks posed by the magnets if they are ingested. This measure will remain in place until the revision process of the relevant European toys standard, currently pending, is completed.
Furthermore, I also concluded a special agreement with the European toy industry. They committed to strengthening their efforts to ensure toy safety, and they will bring to bear their experience and expertise in assisting other economic operators, as well as national authorities, with improving their understanding of toy safety.
I also asked a group of experts to take a more detailed look at the safety measures in the value chain. What did they find? One of the most important conclusions is that product safety cannot be guaranteed by final product testing alone. It has to be embedded in the entire product development process and value chain.
Whereas the larger companies are in the best position to guarantee such a 'holistic' approach to product safety, many of the smaller ones are far less well-equipped to deal with safety issues, due to the absence of dedicated personnel, weaker quality management systems, and weaker supplier control.
This situation is again mirrored in the 2008 Euro barometer on business attitudes towards cross-border sales and consumer protection, where small retailers are less likely (44%) than medium-sized or large retailers (49%) to carry out tests to make sure that the products they sell are safe.
I know that we all agree that safety is a shared objective and a value common to all sectors of society. In addition to the safety of products, consumers also have the right to expect services to be safe.
As we will hear today and tomorrow, prevention, awareness and Governments' involvement play a crucial role in ensuring full consumer safety.
Our society and economy in the 21st century is marked by the rise of the services sector: 70% of employment in Europe is in the service sector.
It is true that the collection of EU-wide data and statistics on safety of services remains far from perfect. The absence of statistical definitions and homogeneity in the way accidents/injuries related to services are registered in the Member States makes comparability a very difficult and inaccurate exercise.
However, this will not prevent me from pursuing new initiatives in the area of services.
The main lesson learnt from the toys alarm last year is that safety requires above all a pro-active frame of mind. We need to assess risks, anticipate dangerous behaviors, monitor compliance by economic operators and enforcement capacities by public authorities. And last but not least, raise consumers' awareness.
This is precisely what the Commission is doing.
For example, I would cite:
In this context, I am pleased to tell you that I have just received a proposal for a self-regulation initiative from the hotels, restaurants and cafés in Europe. If this gets concretized, I believe that it will further enhance fire safety in all hotels in Europe. Our talks with the industry continue on that basis.
Our work on consumer services in the internal market is only just beginning, but it has started with the most fundamental of concerns—safety.
News of Note top
The overwhelming number of imports means that we will continue to focus much of our resources on import safety. In 2008, we expanded upon our Import Safety Initiative established last year based on three key principles: 1) assure product safety is built into the manufacturing and distribution processes from the start; 2) increase enforcement at the border to stop dangerous goods from entering the country; and 3) enhance surveillance of the marketplace to remove unsafe products from store shelves. Specifically in carrying out these principles we:
Expanded our China program: As a follow up to the U.S.
- Sino Consumer Product Safety Summit in 2007, CPSC continued its dialogue
with the Chinese government through cooperative work in four product categories:
toys, lighters, electrical products and fireworks. Technical experts are
now working on exchanges of standards information, training for product
testing and sharing information on best practices in those four product
categories. Officials from CPSC and its Chinese counterpart agency, the
General Administration for Quality, Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine
(AQSIQ) now hold monthly meetings to review recalls and safety issues.
CPSC also took our message of compliance and safety directly to Chinese
manufacturers to better ensure safety in production. In addition, recognizing
that product safety is a shared concern, the CPSC and the European Union
(EU) conducted the “Joint U.S. - EU China Initiative on Consumer
Product Safety Compliance” in China in September of 2008 to speak
with a unified
Created the Import Surveillance Division: In early 2008, CPSC established its Import Surveillance Division, representing the first permanent, full-time presence of CPSC personnel at key U.S. ports of entry, including the nation’s busiest ports. These personnel are specifically trained in import surveillance procedures and the rapid identification of defective and non-complying consumer products. They are utilizing X-ray fluorescence technology to screen for lead and other heavy metals in consumer products, testing more samples of products and conducting more port-of-entry “blitzes” where appropriate. Customs and Border Protection is providing enhanced access to its data systems providing CPSC staff the capability to identify track and prevent hazardous products from entering the United States. The CPSC is also upgrading to a new state-of-the-art laboratory facility to improve efficiency and capacity to test suspect products and to support the development of mandatory and consensus standards.
Obtained the largest number of voluntary recalls (563) in the last 10 years: These recalls included over 320,000 wooden cribs with slats and spindles that could break, creating a gap, which can pose an entrapment and strangulation hazard to infants. In addition, we continue to recall children’s toys (or products) both containing lead and in violation of our lead paint requirements.
Additional 2008 performance highlights include:
Early Warning System: CPSC started the Early Warning System (EWS) initiative which is designed to identify emerging product safety hazard patterns more quickly and effectively in children’s products such as cribs, bassinets, and play yards (playpens). Staff started implementing processes and procedures to evaluate and characterize hazard scenarios and failure modes which should alert staff that a product hazard may exist and quick action to address it must ensue. Work of the EWS team formed the basis for rulemaking activity initiated by the agency.
Carbon monoxide hazards associated with portable generators: To support ongoing rulemaking, staff continued its investigation of various strategies to reduce consumers’ exposure to carbon monoxide (CO) and to enable and encourage them to use generators outdoors only. Those strategies include generator engines with substantially reduced CO emissions and interlocking or automatic shut-off devices. Additionally, the Agency issued warnings, through press releases and podcasts, to the public regarding CO hazards associated with portable generators and urged consumers to use CO alarms in their homes.
Mattresses: Enforcement of a mandatory mattress standard to reduce the severity of fires, which was approved by the Commission in 2006, and became effective in 2007, continued in 2008. When fully implemented, it is expected to save as many as 270 lives per year. CPSC staff participated in industry-sponsored seminars and responded to questions posed by test laboratories, industry associations, importers, retailers, and manufacturers. In addition, CPSC staff compiled several written documents and continued to maintain the Mattress Flammability Information Web page (www.cpsc.gov/businfo/mattress.html), which serves as a useful resource to all interested parties.
Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA): On August 14, 2008, President Bush signed into law the CPSIA. The Act enhances CPSC’s recall authority, streamlines the rulemaking process, and requires product certification. It also allows CPSC to impose significantly higher penalties and to better track product units and suppliers to facilitate recalls of defective products. This Act resulted from independent requests to Congress from Commissioner Moore and others to enhance regulatory authorities and represents the biggest change in CPSC history. We have begun implementation of the CPSIA by planning rulemaking, enforcement, and other safety standard activities. We also launched a public education program which included conducting public meetings starting on September 4th, 2008, to explain the requirements of the CPSIA Act to businesses and the public. A Web site link for all CPSIA activities has also been created and is available at http://www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/cpsia.html. In addition, we consolidated the legal staff of the Office of Compliance with the Office of the General Counsel to achieve an integrated legal team to meet the significant rulemaking and enforcement activity required by the new legislation.
Do you have questions about the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA), such as which products it pertains to, what the requirements are, and when they become effective? Now you can find answers to many of your CPSIA questions on STR's Web site through our new “CPSIA FAQ" feature. You may log on to our Web site for answers to these and a host of other timely questions about how the new CPSIA will impact your products. These FAQs represent a compilation of actual questions received from STR clients. The answers are the result of our ongoing research and are based upon the best and most current information and guidance available. We will be updating the list regularly as the Consumer Product Safety Commission adds further clarification and as new questions are posed to STR product safety experts. You may wish to create a desktop shortcut link to our Web site to keep the newest FAQs just a single click away. We are confident that these FAQs will become a valuable tool to rely upon as you attempt to more fully understand and comply with this complex new law.
Link to CPSIA FAQ on STR’s Web site by clicking here.
STR is pleased to offer CPSIA webinars to individual companies. This allows companies to schedule webinars at a date and time of their convenience and to get answers related to their product line and specific challenges. STR’s CPSIA webinars provide customized consultation to help companies understand the new federal legislation and how it affects their product, and what they need to do to comply with the new requirements. It’s not just toys, it’s not just children’s products–the CPSIA affects a wide range of consumer products.
Registration fee: $200
Speaker: Susan DeRagon
To book your webinar now, please contact Sue DeRagon at Susan.DeRagon@STRQuality.com.
Today I am announcing that I am stepping down as president of Public Citizen after 27 incredible years of leading this remarkable national public interest organization.
During my tenure, we have achieved so much for the people of this nation. Every consumer in America has benefited from our advocacy work. I am proud that Public Citizen under my leadership has played such a significant role in Congress, in government agencies, and in the courts to protect the public health, safety and democracy for everyone in the U.S. In the past 27 years, we have helped pass significant laws benefiting consumers, opened access to government information, enhanced congressional ethics and campaign reform, as well as stopped some of industry's most egregious efforts to rollback public protections. Among our accomplishments:
Our efforts produced these and countless other victories.
I have led Public Citizen through many tumultuous times in our nation since 1982 and am leaving it now a strong and vibrant organization with a budget many times larger than I found it. I am so grateful to our many members and generous foundations that have supported and enhanced our work. I owe a debt of gratitude as well to the many members of Congress who have led the way and opinion leaders who have shared my passion to protect consumers and expose the wrongdoings of private and public entities.
It has been my privilege to serve in this job. I leave it with great pride in all that the staff of Public Citizen and I have accomplished together and a strong awareness of all the work that remains to be done. As Louis Brandeis so appropriately said, "The only title in our democracy superior to that of President is the title of Citizen." I have had the special opportunity to be a full-time citizen.
As the winds of change sweep the nation and Washington, D.C., with promises for new policies to help the public, it is a good time for me to move on to other adventures. I am excited about the new champions of the rule of law who will be leading this nation and the opportunities to use my skills and energy to advance consumer interests as well. I will continue to assist Public Citizen by serving on the board of directors and helping with the search for a new president. I will step down from my administrative duties on Jan. 31, 2009, but for several additional months will help prepare for the transition to a new president of Public Citizen. My work as president of Public Citizen is ending, but my work for a just society will never end.
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) staff promotes safety by providing technical support for voluntary standards activities for a wide range of consumer products. Click on any active link below to obtain additional information, including hazard or incident data analyses, research reports, CPSC staff recommendations to voluntary standard committees, and related safety information. You can also view and comment on staff’s draft recommendations to improve safety requirements prior to their submittal to voluntary standards organizations. In addition, links are provided to the appropriate voluntary standards organization for further information.
Your inquiries and comments are welcome if you care to contact CPSC staff about a voluntary standard activity. Please note that CPSC staff will take all comments and inquiries into consideration, although you may not receive a direct response to your submittal. You may also subscribe to receive updates concerning CPSC staff’s voluntary standards activities. Click on the appropriate link in the Contact CPSC section of any standards activity
You may also view Voluntary Standards Activities summary reports (2006 annual, 2007 midyear, 2007 annual, and 2008 midyear - all in PDF format) or archived information on CPSC staff voluntary standards activities.
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) December 9, 2008 said that the list of pre-registered substances it planned to release around the New Year were preliminary only. It explained that the six months of REACH pre-registration that ended earlier in December involve a much larger than expected response—more than 2 million filings involving more than 100,000 substances (PSL, 12/8/08, p. 4). What this means is that when the ECHA re-opened its pre-SEIF files on January 5, 2009, those included only substances that passed preliminary verifications. ECHA also plans then to estimate when it will finish verifications.
SEIF stands for substance information exchange forum, and it is the online mechanism by which ECHA allows companies to learn which other companies pre-registered substances similar to their own. During pre-registration, companies could make preliminary REACH filings and continue to produce and sell substances while working on final filings. Companies that did not pre-register by December 1, 2008 must stop making or selling the substances in the EU until completing registration. REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals) is the system that requires safety/health tests of chemicals, including many in consumer products.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) joined Target, of Minneapolis, Minn., by announcing a new notification system for communicating product recalls in Target stores nationwide. Target’s innovative safety and recall notification program involves posting signs throughout its stores that direct guests to gift registry kiosks near the Guest Service desk to learn about recalled products.
Through the kiosk system, guests in Target stores will have easy access to notices of new or past recalls for all product categories and can print copies of safety and recall notices to take with them.
Target will continue to post safety and recall information at Target.com, provide links to the CPSC and related Web sites, and send e-mails to guests who have purchased recalled products online. To further increase awareness of recalls, Target has introduced a new process for eligible Target REDcard account holders, which provides recorded phone messages for guests who purchase an item that has been recalled.
CPSC would also like to urge consumers to sign up to receive automatic e-mail updates on recalls. “We have several subscription lists so consumers have more choices in the types of messages they can receive to ensure their families are safe,” said Acting Chairman Nancy Nord.
By logging on to www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.aspx consumers can tailor the type of e-mail notification they prefer, based on product type. Subscription lists include:
At the gift registry kiosk or at www.target.com, Target guests can also search for recall information based on specific product categories.
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