I would like to express concern with the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) Reform Act (H.R. 4040 or Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA)), which passed the Senate with overwhelming support. This bill was passed without sufficient input or congressional consideration of the impact of the bill on families, businesses and the environment. Most retailers and manufacturers, and even fewer parents had no idea this bill was being considered. We are just now discovering the full impact that it will have on the environment, and our options as parents. I am in favor of laws designed to protect our children. But this new law is so poorly written, that ALL the products my children use will soon become “hazardous banned substances”, and I won’t have the ability to resell them or purchase gently used replacements – regardless of whether they are safe or not. I won’t even be able to put these hazardous substances into my garbage since they will soon be classified as hazardous waste. The Problem: There are two primary areas of concern: 1. The requirement to certify compliance of ALL children’s products with new lead standards before a product can be sold is retroactive and covers all products for children currently in the stream of commerce. This is a “guilty” until proven innocent standard that doesn’t make practical sense. 2. The environmental impact is huge. Products previously considered safe (including clothing, shoes, and toys) will become garbage on February 10th – unable to be recycled or reused. The net affect of this legislation for consumers will be to take away our options. I am an avid resale shopper, and have found this to be a wonderful and economical way to provide quality products for my children and earn something back on the items they no longer use. Without changes in the law, on February 10th, all retail stores carrying used children’s products will be confronted with two options: 1. Close their doors and file bankruptcy; 2. Continue doing business (illegally) and run the risk of being charged for criminal activity under the rules and regulations of CPSIA. Neither of these options is acceptable to me as a consumer. This poorly crafted legislation needs to be revised immediately before it goes into effect! The Solution: 1. Delay implementation until Congress has time to study and act on proposed changes. 2. Structure the lead content regulations under the Consumer Products Safety Act rather than the Federal Hazardous Substance Act so that it isn’t retroactive. 3. Direct the requirements specifically to large manufacturers and importers who have ultimate control over product safety, not retailers, distributors, or very small (i.e. home based or under 10 employee) businesses. 4. Provide for component testing rather than unit testing by manufacturers. 5. Rather than including ALL children’s products, specify certain categories of products to be covered by this law based on probably of risk from those items. Specifically exempt categories (i.e. textiles and electronics) from the legislation. 6. Lower the age of children protected by this act from age 12 to age 3.
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