August 6, 2009
Hot Off the Press...
Section 103(a) of the CPSIA requires manufacturers to place permanent, distinguishing marks on children's products and the packaging "to the extent practicable" as aid for parents and retailers to quickly recognize whether a product is involved in a recall. In April, Printing Industries requested that children's books not be subject to additional label requirements mandated by the Act since such information identifying the source of production is already provided on the copyright page of each book. In separate comments, the industry expressed concerns with the applicability of tracking labels to "ordinary paper-based" graphic arts products that consist of many small components or that act as supplementary materials in a toy kit. While the commission's guidance vaguely addresses some of these issues, unfortunately the industry remains in the dark regarding many concerns and, at this point, printed products are not excluded from the labeling requirements.
CPSC's newly appointed Chairman Tenenbaum and Commissioners Moore and Nord all released statements of policy in regards to the recently approved guidance. According to Tenenbaum, "...the Commission does not intend to penalize manufacturers for inadvertent violations of the statute when they have made a good faith effort in attempting to comply with the tracking label requirements." Interestingly, a recent AP article "Product Safety Chief Puts Industry on Notice," quoted Tenenbaum as saying, "I plan to enforce the CPSIA," and "we will follow the statute." Printing Industries appreciates the mutual concerns Tenenbaum acknowledged in her statement: that one size does not fit all when it comes to tracking labels; that small-volume manufacturers say they can't feasibly comply with the statute because their production patterns "do not lend themselves to lot, batch, and run labeling systems;" and that confusion over how to meet the requirements comes too late to meet the August 14 deadline for enacting them. According to Commissioner Nord's statement, "It is important to note that the guidance issued today probably will not be the last word on this important issue."
The issue of how to deal with the over-reaching CPSIA and tracking label requirements, both at the CPSC and in Congress, is far from over. An oversight hearing had been announced in the House Committee of Energy and Commerce for last week but was postponed. A similar hearing in the Senate Committee of Energy and Commerce has been called for by Sen. Hutchinson (TX-ranking member) and is expected to take place in early September. Printing Industries continues to pursue all avenues, including legislative and administrative relief from the overly broad CPSIA.
This article is an update to previous articles:
- March 17, 2009 - Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act: Update
- April 28, 2009 - Call to Action: Request for CPSIA Testing Data
- June 12, 2009 - Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act: Update
This article has a later update article:
- September 30, 2009 - Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act: Update