CPSC Coalition Activities
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) plans to address several items in 2017.
SGCDpro Washington Liaison Walt Sanders attended a December 2016 meeting of the National Association of Manufacturers’ Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Coalition. He assembled the following notes on the meeting.
The initial part of the session focused on procedures for replacing CPSC’s leadership. Although it has been rumored that Chairman Elliott Kaye (D) has no intention of resigning, President Trump has the constitutional authority to remove the chairman for any reason if a new permanent chair is confirmed by the Senate and sworn in. Democrats currently hold a majority on the commission, and Republicans won’t be able to control the commission until a replacement is named for Commissioner Marietta Robinson, whose term expires in October 2017.
As a result of significant input from the CPSC Coalition, the House and Senate Committees that hold jurisdiction over CPSC wrote to Chairman Kaye, warning that the agency should not try to push through controversial regulations and rules following the election. Conversations with CPSC staff since the exchange of letters suggest that there are no immediate plans to formalize either the pending voluntary recall rule or the 6(b) rule soon. The 6(b) rule relates to the commission’s disclosure of information about a consumer product that identifies a manufacturer or private labeler.
The coalition listed several items that may be addressed in 2017:
- The “single window” import coordinating policy between U.S. Customs and CPSC is causing administrative burdens with various stakeholders.
- The jurisdiction of the CPSC is vague and confusing on certain product categories (including certain glass and ceramic items and the definition of what is a “product intended for children”).
- The rulemaking process needs to be revised, as many products are subject to longstanding investigations without appropriate resolution.
- The Senate Commerce Committee does not “swear in” witnesses, thereby allowing CPSC officials to change their positions without regard to accountability (i.e., Chairman Kaye changing his position on the voluntary recall rule).
- The opportunity for increased oversight of the CPSC by the House and Senate Committees
- The prospect of broad legislative changes of the structure and operations of CPSC
- The federal court’s overturning of the Zen magnet case was a big win for industry and should be flagged to the Trump transition team as an example of the court recognizing that CPSC had clearly overstepped its regulatory authority.
In summarizing his report, Sanders recommended:
- Pressing the Trump administration to nominate a new chairman, who will devise responsible regulatory and enforcement policies for the commission
- Evaluating the existing executive orders issued by the current administration from the perspective of protecting consumers without impairing commercial opportunities
- Devising possible new executive orders that could immediately reverse current anti-business practices of the commission
- Working with the CPSC Coalition to offer some substantive amendments to the Consumer Product Safety Act
In other CPSC news, The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Environmental Justice Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform, and the Breast Cancer Fund jointly filed suit in federal court in New York City on December 6, 2016, to compel the CPSC to issue a final rule on phthalates in children’s products “as soon as possible.” A Chronic Hazard Advisory Panel (CHAP) report issued in 2014 concluded that eight phthalates are unsafe for use in children’s toys and child care articles at levels greater than 0.1%, and recommended that they be banned from toys and child care products. For other phthalates, the report noted potential development hazards and significant data gaps, which prevented the experts from drawing any conclusions with confidence. Following release of the report, CPSC proposed a rule in 2014 establishing permanent bans on some phthalates and lifting the bans on others, but has not yet published a final rule.
Candles Recalled Due to Laceration Hazard
Yankee Luminous candles enclosed in a glass container manufactured in Poland were recalled in December. The square glass containers hold a fragrant wax with three wicks. When the candle is lit, the glass jar can crack, posing a laceration hazard. Although Yankee received 16 reports of the glass jar cracking, no injuries had been reported. About 31,000 were sold exclusively at Yankee Candle stores in the U.S. and online for about $35. In addition, about 300 units were sold in Canada.
Deco ’17 Update
Deco ’17, SGCDpro’s annual conference and exposition, is just around the corner. The society will meet April 22-24 at the Sheraton Station Square in Pittsburgh, Pa. The meeting kicks off Saturday with a production and processes session featuring several first-time speakers. On Sunday, a marketing session featuring Katie McIlvane of Homer Laughlin China will follow the Annual Meeting of Members.
Keynote speaker Charles R. Scott, The Family Adventure Guy, will precede the annual regulatory update session, which will be held on Monday. A number of regulatory issues and concerns, including a discussion of newly published rules for California Proposition 65 compliance, will be discussed at the Monday session. The annual exposition will be held from 12-6:00 p.m. on Sunday.
Editor’s note: Elliot Kaye stepped down as chairman of the CPSC on February 8. Commissioner Ann Marie Buerkle will serve as acting chair; her term expires in 2018.
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.