Ceramic Industry

CERAMIC DECORATING: Regulatory Environment Heats Up

August 1, 2010

The regulatory environment for the glass and ceramic industries has recently become quite robust. The recent Shrek glass recall has sent shockwaves through the industry. SGCDpro met on June 17 with congressional staffers and one congressman in an effort to explain the difference between the metallic cadmium used in jewelry and the cadmium oxides that are used in glass and ceramic decoration. In addition, the society sent representatives to Washington, D.C., on July 19 for direct meetings with Inez Tenenbaum, chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the other CPSC commissioners. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) sent a letter directly to Chairman Tenenbaum seeking information as to why the recall of a compliant product was initiated. Complete details of SGCDpro's interaction on this issue are available at www.sgcd.org.

The U.S. House of Representatives' Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection recently held a hearing on a draft CPSEA. The draft bill is intended to resolve some of the unforeseen impact of the CPSIA. Glass and ceramic articles are not specifically addressed in the bill. Language in the bill grants the CPSC the authority to allow exceptions to lead content limits in instances where reaching the 100 ppm level is not "practicable."

The SGCDpro board of directors considered updates to the society's voluntary lip and rim standard at its meeting in June. The standard, originally adopted in 1989, was last updated in 1999. SGCDpro sought advice on the issue from industry expert Wayne Zitkus. While the standard is voluntary, such guidelines are often used to preclude the need for government regulation.

In addition, SGCDpro joined several other trade associations that are affected by proposed changes to the "statutory mixtures" treatment under the TSCA in suggesting that the EPA's action would be costly and burdensome both to the industry and the EPA. The letter reiterates the industry's position that such changes would have to proceed through rulemaking and cannot be summarily made by the EPA. SGCDpro will continue to keep members informed of progress on this issue.