Monday, November 2, 2009

CPSIA - It's "Official" - The "15 Month Rule" is Delayed.

In an announcement today calling for comments, the CPSC announced the December 10/11 seminar on the "15 Month Rule" and called for comments by January 11, 2010. Notably, the CPSC announced the following details:

"The workshop will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, December 10, 2009, and Friday, December 11,2009 at the CPSC's headquarters building at 4330 East West Highway, Bethesda, Maryland 20814, in the 4th Floor Hearing Room.

The workshop will open with a review of CPSC staffs current work on sections 14(a) and 14(d)(2) of the CPSA, including a discussion of the factors involved in sampling and an overview of the economic issues, followed by break-out sessions on the following subjects:
  • The Consumer Product Labeling Program;
  • Reasonable Testing Programs;
  • Sampling Plans;
  • Safeguarding Against Undue Influence on Product Testing;
  • Additional Third-Party Testing Requirements for Children's Products; and
  • Verification of Children's Product Testing Results.

The panels at the break-out sessions will consist of Commission staff and invited members from the public. If you would like to make a presentation at the workshop or be considered as a panel member for a specific break-out session, please send, via electronic mail (e-mail), a note indicating your desire to participate and/or indicating which of the break-out sessions you wish to join. We ask that you limit the number of break-out sessions to no more than three. We will select panelists and persons who will make presentations at the workshop, based on considerations such as: the individual's familiarity or expertise with the topic to be discussed; the practical utility of the information to be presented (such as a discussion of specific standards, methods, or other regulatory approaches), and the individual's viewpoint or ability to represent certain interests (such as large manufacturers, small manufacturers, consumer organizations, etc.). The e-mail should be sent to Robert Howell at no later than November 20, 2009."

As noted, comments are due on January 11. As this is expected to be one of the most hotly-debated subjects under the CPSIA, the promulgation of the "15 Month Rule" will take some time thereafter and may be subject to comments again before the rule becomes "final". The "15 Month Rule" is far off at this point. This suggests some action, hopefully soon, to extend the testing and certification stay. Fingers crossed . . . .

The CPSC document is remarkable for its candor about problems with this troubling rule. Considerable detail is provided in their 25 page announcement. Their acknowledgement is, in and of itself, a shift. [The delay was announced over the weekend by Nancy Nord in her new blog.] The fact that the CPSC evidences deep concern over the challenges in this rule implies that it recognizes the severity of the business community's issues under this law. [The CPSC and its professional staff are likewise victims of the CPSIA, but at times a forgotten victim.] Their admission in advance of the November 14 deadline can only be interpreted as a courtesy to the business community, a much-appreciated one, too. This has been in the works for some time, apparently - I am personally grateful that they didn't wait to the very last minute to let us know of the delay.

I think it is becoming clearer that the CPSC is listening. Now the next challenge is to translate listening into action. No one, NO ONE, wants to endanger children. In fact, no one EVER wanted to endanger children. The challenge before us (Congress, the CPSC and the business community together) is to craft rules and mechanisms that reasonably protect children while not snuffing out markets, products or companies. I hope that the CPSC and its leadership also see clearly that important parts of the problem are beyond their power to remedy - and that they must go to Congress to get help. To me, this is a "lesson learned". And . . . the sooner, the better.

1 comment:

jennifer said...

so glad they are listening...without people like Rick and other dedicated colleagues - we likely would have been swept under the rug. thank you rick!