Sunday, October 11, 2009

CPSIA - More Victims (Am I Boring You Yet?)

I received a phone call on Friday from a reader of this blog who, among things, wanted to report to me that she is losing suppliers at a rapid clip. Why? She makes hair bows and barrettes for kids. [She recently branched into dog hair bows because it is outside the CPSIA reach and might be a viable business after the rest of her business craters thanks to Mr. Waxman. Where have we heard this strategy before, namely leaving the children's product market to escape the penal reach of the CPSIA?] She decorates her bows and barrettes with various doodads like buttons and other shiny bling. It turns out that her suppliers of buttons and so on have no interest in paying for testing for or compliance with the CPSIA. They tell her, "Listen, these things aren't intended for kids. We are not subject to that law and refuse to test. If you don't like it, buy someone else's buttons (etc.)." That rules them out as suppliers because she can't afford to test. Each such answer creates yet another off-limits supplier and supply item.

I wish I could say any of this is surprising to me. In fact, it is not. I spoke about this particular subject ONE YEAR AGO at the CPSC on November 6, 2008. Here's the video that segment of the speech:

[The first and third parts of this old speech are also worth watching. Old but good. I stand by the speech, although some minor things have changed since then.]

This subject is rather relevant right now. Hey, CPSC, are you actually considering market feedback on your component testing concept? I have made numerous points about component testing and hope you are listening. Here's another one (it's a repeat but please think about it anyway): IF you give us "relief" by allowing us to use the tests provided by our suppliers, what are you going to do to force suppliers from outside the market to provide test reports? How will your rule provide relief to Ms. Barrette above? This problem is EXACTLY what I highlighted last November. If component testing won't solve her supply problem for her, it won't work for me. And, PLEASE, watch my video above and take note of the various other testing fantasies that component testing WON'T resolve. As I have said innumerable times, test reports do not equal safety. Supply chain management and risk assessment does. In this case, your wonderful CPSIA has gaps in it that make full and compulsive compliance impossible. The casualties are mounting.

As noted by others, we need the CPSC to stand for safety, not for the CPSIA. There is a consequence for the passage of time. Please do not assume that your efforts to clarify the law over a yawning 18-month period won't have a very real cost to those of us left in the children's market. And you are responsible for that cost.

It's time to tell Mr. Waxman and his buddies over in Congress what's wrong. Please don't kill us while you work up the nerve.

1 comment:

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

If you look at page 115 of the letters we sent in to Mr. Waxman et. al. for the hearing on September 10, you will see the same complaint as illustrated in this blogpost. See this link (you may have to cut and paste):,%20Rush,%20Barton%20and%20Radanovich.pdf