Embedded deep in the impressively long 160-pager entitled "Proposed Rule: Testing and Labeling Pertaining to Product Certification, April 1, 2010", the CPSC reveals that there's trouble in La-La-Land over variances between lab tests performed at different certified labs: "Another comment noted that variations in sample preparation by conformity assessment bodies can and do lead to differing test results. One comment, noting lab-to-lab variations in test results for the same product, suggested that CPSC should require CPSC-recognized third party conformity assessment bodies to conduct blind correlation studies and lab audits."
Oy vey, what do people EXPECT? The CPSC can't help out on every niggling problem: "The Commission's limited resources preclude CPSC from directly conducting verification of the numerous CPSC recognized conformity assessment bodies. Additionally, the activities and requirements for accrediting conformity assessment bodies are outside the scope of this rulemaking."
Au contraire, Pierre! This CPSC will face down every challenge! They ain't no teething tiger any more, they are a Lion of Safety now, so they came up with the perfect rule to resolve this dilemma. After all, lest we forget, you CAN'T be too safe! Here's what they came up with:
"Proposed § 1107.24(a) would state that a manufacturer is responsible for verifying that its children's products, as tested by a third party conformity assessment body, comply with applicable children's product safety rules. For purposes of proposed § 1107.24, "verification" would mean testing that demonstrates that the test results from one third party conformity assessment body are consistent with the test results from another third party conformity assessment body for a particular children's product. Proposed § 1107.24(a) would require a manufacturer to send samples of a previously certified children's product or a children's product that previously has been tested periodically pursuant to proposed § 1107.21 to a third party conformity assessment body for verification.
. . . . Proposed § 1107.24(b) would require verification to occur on a reoccurring basis and be conducted at a frequent enough interval to provide a high degree of assurance that the children's product that had been certified previously continues to comply with the applicable children's product safety rules or that the periodic test for the children's product was performed correctly."
]Emphasis most enthusiastically added.]
This is GENIUS! Thank heavens we have the CPSC to protect us. Who else would have spotted this terrible and threatening gap in our consumer safety network? But having added this new layer of "protection", aren't other safety holes now visible? I call on the CPSC to bring out rules clarifying:
- Certification of testing testers;
- Certification of testing tester testing testers (you need those, too);
- Certification of testing tester testing certifiers;
- Rules for tolerable variances among testing labs for each certified test, record keeping on all test results and variances for at least 100 years, and plans of remediation for every conceivable variance for each possible test under all conceivable circumstances;
- Rules for a new agency to check all the work of the CPSC and to reconsider and rewrite every rule they have ever written, plus record keeping and hearings and comment periods for this new agency;
I think the new agency to check the work of the CPSC should be called the Consumer Product Safety Commission Checking Commission for Safety Enhancement and Verification Processes (CPSCCCSEVP), you know, for simplicity. Gotta keep it simple and efficient. That's my motto!
[For more pleasure reading on this important topic, don't miss the 110-page Staff briefing or the equally riveting 29-page Slide Presentation for the April 15 Commission meeting on the same topic. Happy reading!]