- THE MAGAZINE
Plans for Deco ’13 in Louisville were discussed at the summer board meeting for the Society of Glass and Ceramic Decorated Products (SGCDpro). Next year’s Deco event will be held April 13-15 at the Hyatt Regency Louisville, site of Deco ’07. SGCDpro has secured a room rate of $112 per night at the newly renovated hotel.
The meeting will kick off Saturday with a planned tour of Maker’s Mark Distillery. The annual “Ask the Experts” session will be held on Sunday and will focus on new regulations that affect small and large businesses, as well as proposed changes in European lead and cadmium limits. Additional topics will include updates on the FDA, CPSIA, Prop 65 and more.
Monday’s program will include discussions on increasing profits by using sustainable business practices and adopting new technology. Networking opportunities will be provided during receptions on Saturday and Sunday, and during lunch on Sunday and Monday.
Individuals interested in speaking at Deco ’13 should contact SGCDpro headquarters at (740) 588-9882.
Europe Considers New Limits on Lead and Cadmium
The European Commission (EC) has determined that lead and cadmium levels for articles intended to come into contact with foodstuffs need to be lowered. Several member states have also requested that the EC add other metals and substances to its directive and find ways to regulate the non-industrial production of ceramic articles.
The EC seeks to expand the directive to include glass, enamels and glazed materials. A vote will be held in September, with enforcement commencing in January 2013. The full EC document may be viewed by SGCDpro members at www.sgcd.org.
CDC Lowers Lead Poisoning Limit
For the first time in 20 years, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has cut the threshold for lead poisoning in young children in half, from 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood to 5 micrograms. The standard applies to children younger than six. This change could increase the number of children diagnosed with high levels of lead from approximately 77,000-255,000 to 450,000 cases.
The CDC’s threshold was last changed in 1991. The new standard was calculated from the highest lead levels seen in a comprehensive annual U.S. health survey. The CDC plans to reassess that level every four years.
The CDC was following recommendations made to the agency in January by an expert advisory panel. However, a spokesman has stated that the agency was not able to do everything the panel suggested. For example, the panel urged the CDC to do more to make sure no children are exposed to lead hazards. It also said all doctors should report high levels to local health departments, retest children to see if they improve, and help teach parents how to find and eliminate lead sources.
The CDC agreed that these steps should be taken, but the agency does not have the funding or staff for such an effort. Congress cut the CDC lead program’s budget from about $29 million last year to $2 million this year.
Senate Considering New CPSC Commissioner
The Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs considered the nomination of Marietta Robinson for the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on May 10. Robinson is a plaintiff’s attorney from Michigan and an unsuccessful candidate in a 2000 retention election for the Michigan Supreme Court. Walt Sanders, SGCDpro’s Washington lobbyist, reports that after Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) introduced Robinson because of her long tenure in Michigan politics, she “presented herself as a balanced and open individual and told the committee she approached the position with 30 years of experience.”
Robinson has outlined three main agency objectives, including:
- Getting the CPSC to complete the final rules implementing the CPSIA
- Focusing on existing rules and regulations prohibiting non-compliant products from entering the U.S. from abroad
- Promoting “outreach and education” and ensuring that the commission leverages its resources with the clear message that “prevention is better than reaction”
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va) questioned Robinson about bringing a sense of cooperation and bipartisanship to the CPSC as the commission has been recently criticized as being “bitterly divided” by partisanship. Robinson assured the committee that her interests were devoted to consumer product safety and not politics.
Committee members also pointed out that several outside groups had criticized the CPSC staff for posting unattributed information on the CPSC database, and more accountability was needed regarding the posted information. Robinson agreed that CPSC staff and committee staff should sit down and work out a plan to improve the database.
If confirmed by the Senate, Robinson would fill the seat vacated by Thomas Moore (D) in October 2011. Commissioner Anne Northup’s (R) term expired in October 2011 and, unless re-nominated and confirmed, she will leave the commission in October of this year.
NLRB “Ambush Elections” Rule Overturned
A federal judge has overturned a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rule that would have streamlined the process for union elections. A U.S. District Court judge in Washington determined that the rule was invalid because the NLRB lacked a quorum when it approved the rule.
Under the law governing the NLRB, it takes three members to have a quorum, even when there are vacancies on the board. At the time the NLRB voted on the union elections rule, it had only three members. One of them, Republican Brian Hayes, didn’t participate in the vote, resulting in no quorum. Therefore, the rule was judged to be invalid.
In other MLRB news, the law mandating that employers post 11 x 17-in. signs informing employees of their right to organize has been stayed by the courts pending the results of litigation.
Any views or opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not represent those of Ceramic Industry, its staff, Editorial Advisory Board or BNP Media.