The Alliance for Children's Product Safety's "CPSIA Casualty of the Week" highlights how the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) is disrupting the U.S. marketplace in order to draw attention to the problems faced by small businesses, public institutions, consumers and others trying to comply with senseless and often contradictory provisions of the law. These provisions do nothing to improve product safety, but are driving small businesses out of the market.
Congress and the CPSC need to address the problems with CPSIA implementation to help small businesses by restoring "common sense" to our nation's product safety laws.
CPSIA Casualty of the Week for June 1, 2010:
CPSIA RULES! (THOUSANDS OF PAGES OF THEM)
Educational Products Market Overwhelmed by CPSIA-Mandated Testing and Paperwork
American Educational Products LLC (AMEP) is a Fort Collins, Colorado-based company selling classroom teaching aids like flash cards, animal models, globes and relief maps that educators rely on to teach their students. Despite a sterling safety record, AMEP President Michael Warring is worried that the ever-increasing amount of time that his company is spending on compliance with the CPSIA threatens the future of his company.
Warring explained, "We sold 5,600 different SKU's in 2009 to 2,600 different customers. Approximately 2,000 of these SKUs might be considered 'children's products', meaning that they must be tested by a third party for lead. My 64 employees and I are finding it virtually impossible to manage the scale of this CPSIA-mandated testing. Each SKU takes approximately eight hours a year in compliance and testing administration. This means that 24 of my 64 employees would need to work full-time, year-round just to ensure compliance with CPSIA – even though our supply chain controls effectively manage the risk of lead violations. I cannot afford a 37% increase in employees nor can I force 40 employees to do the work of 64. Neither alternative can be achieved."
Warring also said his company has lost business due to CPSIA.
"One customer cancelled a $5,000 custom rock order after deciding that rocks were too ‘dangerous’ for a geology lesson because of the CPSIA lead rules and elected to use posters instead," said Warring. "What caliber of young scientists are we nurturing in our country when we won’t let students touch and feel the textures, densities and hues of naturally-occurring rocks in a classroom? After all, kids pick up rocks outside the classroom every day. Our laws are scaring schools away from common sense choices about how our kids are educated."
He continued, "Another customer insisted that we use XRF scanning for lead-in-paint, a procedure not approved by the CPSC for compliance testing because XRF tests may produce erroneous results. We showed him independent test results that confirmed that our products were well within the CPSIA lead limits, but our inability to provide XRF testing resulted in the customer canceling orders worth about $35,000 to our company. Confusion reigns supreme – two years after passage of the CPSIA"
Warring fears that the CPSIA's senseless testing requirements and voluminous paperwork will mean that many of the 5,600 educational products that AMEP produces will disappear from the marketplace.
"As we offer fewer choices to the distributors we serve, our position as a vendor will deteriorate and our very viability in the marketplace could be at risk," said Warring.
Warring concluded, "I'm not sure how children's safety and well being is being addressed when their parents' livelihoods disappear and when their education is being limited to material in printed form. These are two of the many real consequences, intended or otherwise, that CPSIA has imposed on my company, my employees, the vendors we support, our customers, and the children we help to educate."
For additional information on the Alliance for Children's Product Safety and CPSIA, and to view previous "Casualties of the Week, visit http://www.AmendTheCPSIA.com.