The Society of Glass and Ceramic Decorated Products (SGCDpro) is tracking new legislation and regulatory interpretations of several existing laws, most of which will have far-reaching effects on our industry.
House Food Safety Bill Requires Labeling of Food Ware
Proposed this summer, the Food Safety Bill passed the House in July with a provision requiring labels on ceramic table- or cookware. If any lead is used on the ware, the product and its packaging would be required to be labeled to read: “This product is made with lead-based glaze consistent with the Food & Drug Administration guidelines for such lead.”
In cooperation with the Coalition for Safe Ceramicware, SGCDpro retained a Washington lobbyist, Walt Sanders, who set up several meetings with Senate staffers to impress upon them the unnecessary burden the labeling provision in the house bill would create on our industry. Representatives of Lenox, Inc., World Kitchen, Ferro Corp., Pickard China, and Maryland China met with various Senate staffers to plead the industry’s case. As a result, the Senate bill came out of committee with no ceramic labeling provisions. Every effort is being made to ensure that none are added to the bill when it gets to the Senate floor and to eliminate the House provision when conferees meet to resolve differences between the two bills.
CPSIA Costs Industry Business
At least one SGCDpro member has reported losing business on children’s ceramic decorated products because retailers fear Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) enforcement on such items. Currently, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) strictly limits lead content to 300 parts per million (ppm). To determine content, the CPSC test method requires that the item be ground to a powder for testing. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) relies on leaching, rather than content, as a standard. SGCDpro is developing a case to take to Congress to amend the law to recognize that leaching is the appropriate way to determine risk of exposure to lead in glass and ceramicware.
The industry has also submitted a request to the CPSC to exempt glass and ceramic children’s products from the 100 ppm threshold that is scheduled to go into effect in 2011. SGCDpro urges members to comply with the testing and labeling procedures to avoid enforcement action. In addition to the CPSC, state attorneys general are also empowered to enforce this federal law.
Prop 65 Cases Continue to be Filed
At least 12 Proposition 65 cases have been filed in 2009 on glass and ceramic items. Most of the cases concern decorated mugs, but candle containers have also been targeted. None of the items involved appear to have violated any federal regulations. SGCDpro continues to monitor the pace of Prop 65 filings, which has slowed in recent years. Members are reminded of the importance of labeling items that are being sold or may be sold in the state of California.
SGCDpro Fights Ruling on Packaging
The Toxics in Packaging Clearing House (TPCH) has reversed a long-standing ruling on how state packaging laws apply to decorated glass bottles. SGCDpro has joined forces with William Anderson of the Williams Mullin law firm in Washington, D.C., to challenge a recent interpretation that treats the decoration as a separate package component. Previously, a vitrified decoration was considered part of the package. This new interpretation is potentially far reaching, as it would require testing of each individual color used in a container’s decoration.
Anderson and SGCDpro have given sound arguments to the TPCH stating why the new interpretation is not appropriate, including the fact that there is no standard test to determine heavy metals content of ceramic enamels. But the TPCH has refused to reconsider its new interpretation and suggests it will identify an existing test methodology that can be used. For details on how this development may affect your company, contact SGCDpro Legislation/Regulatory Liaison Sandy Spence at email@example.com
SIDEBAR: SGCDpro NewsNew Test Labs
SGCDpro is pleased to welcome a number of new members in the testing lab category: CTC Group, NSF Labs, MSR Labs and SEA Limited. By dealing with member labs, SGCDpro members can gain an increased level of confidence that the correct test methods will be used. In addition, SGCDpro members may receive a discount from member labs. Legislative Update Webinar
SGCDpro hosted a Decorating Industry Legislative Update webinar on December 1, 2009, which offered an update of the many new pending laws affecting the industry. In addition, enforcement actions and new interpretations of existing law were discussed. Additional webinars will be scheduled in 2010. For more information regarding any of these items, visit www.sgcd.org. 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.