Wednesday, February 17, 2010

CPSIA - ICPHSO Update - Q&A with CPSC

Q&A's from this afternoon's session. Gib Mullan responding unless otherwise noted.

A taste of things to come:
  1. The biggest impact of the Public Database is how quickly you will have to reply. Hmmm, where have we heard this before??? Hope you are never on vacation. . . .
  2. On confidentiality in the Public Database, it is going to be "hard to deal with". Info from consumers won't be confidential. Info from businesses will either be confidential or not, perhaps at the company's pleasure, but it will be hard to act on info businesses provide WITHOUT making it public. RW: Don't forget to make comments,guys. Your silence will be taken as your approval, trust me.
  3. The plan for the DB is to let companies have "every bit of the time" specified in the statute "AND NOTHING MORE". There will be "minimal CPSC review". Aha, just like Tenenbaum said, time to get prepared. . . for the first Tuesday in November.
  4. One questioner noted that the recalls on cribs has so rattled consumers that it has stimulated the return of co-sleeping arrangements, known to be one of the most dangerous baby scenarios. Hmmm. The CPSC will be doing education to counteract this development. RW: It is inconceivable that their publicity will match the media frenzy over crib recalls. It's probably safest just to stop having kids.
  5. Will there be a mandatory standard for window coverings - because there is (said to be) one death a month. The CPSC says that they are working on it. For you at home, it's probably safer to just take down all window coverings and let Mrs. Kravitz have a big day.
  6. Somebody called for new regulations on the "end of life", just like in Japan. OMG . . . . Hey, they mean the end of your product's life! What were you thinking? The CPSC is watching how this system works but has no present plans to expand its current regulatory scheme.
  7. When will a promotional product become a "Children's Product"? Does it become a Children's Product if screened with the wrong thing? Cheri Falvey responded that you can't read the WIMA letter (the pen decision) to address this question. It was a "result-oriented" opinion from a two-person Commission. The new rule on Children's Products, to be voted on by five Commissioners, will sort this out. Might incorporate the pen decision and broaden it, or it might not. So there you go, might be okay, might not, you should wait and see. [RW: I hate the pen decision because it attempts to solve a compliance issue on a technicality with absolutely no regard for safety. Is a pen safe? The decision cannot be reconciled against that question because it only matters what was intended by the manufacturer. Safety is irrelevant when considering compliance . . . ?]
  8. Eric Stone noted that changes in the definition of "Children's Products" may have consequences for manufacturers and asked if the agency has the legal authority to operate prospectively. Falvey declined to give a legal opinion, but noted her personal opinion that the definition could broaden in the new rule. She noted that she has warned about that in the past. Oh, I see, we are to write down her every word, savoring them like pearls, because her oral warnings in any setting are going to be taken as precedent. We were warned. Too bad for those of you who weren't here to hear her words. Ha Ha Ha Ha! And you can't use this blog as a citation, either. Remember, my URL doesn't end in "dot gov". I am a liar.
  9. When the law goes into effect on cribs, Falvey told us this AM that the standards will be RETROACTIVE. A member of the juvenile products industry referred to this news as a "bomb". He said there could be 20 or 30 million cribs that don't comply and would be instantly illegal. Gib says the new rule would be retroactive only for cribs in "public settings" like hotels, motels, day care centers. He says that the Commission has the authority to go even further. Oooh, could be a great chance for the government to come into your home - nice! I really like the concept of this rule - it's really simple, see, it will be retroactive for some people and prospective for others. Apparently, the CPSC and Congress still haven't figured out that the U.S. economy is rather complex. I see years of fun ahead for the regulators.
  10. Learning Curve asked if all document attachments on the Public Database would be made public. Gib said yes. LCI then asked about consumer-obtained test reports and whether they would also be made public without scrutiny. Gib said he hadn't thought of that one. I can think of a few plaintiff's lawyers who would be happy to run a real life seminar about this in the future . . . . This Q illustrates the incredible disarray that awaits us all because of this insanely self-destructive provision fobbed off on us by the consumer groups.
  11. Gib: not everything in the database will be public. Some area will be explicitly confidential. Some 15(b) disclosures will not appear in the DB.
  12. No decision on whether media reports will be included in the DB. I find this hard to be envision - I trust eventually the consumer groups will force all the trash into the DB to help with all their searches. Oh how I look forward to the new era of Sudden Business Death.
  13. Will the agency will reconcile multiple reports of the same incident? One of Cheri Falvey's associates said they would address it in the rule. The rule is now over 25 pages long. Trust me, it won't be that short when released.

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