CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum Delivers Keynote at Toy Fair

From Toy Industry Association (TIA)

February 14, 2012 | Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Chairman Inez Tenenbaum spoke to an audience of more than 300 toy industry stakeholders this morning in a keynote address delivered at the Toy Industry Association’s (TIA) annual Toy Safety Compliance Update.

Chairman Tenenbaum shared the CPSC’s progress in 2011 – including the long-anticipated amendments to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) last August– before discussing the Commission’s goals for 2012, which include “education and prevention over reaction and recalls” and the importance of “toy safety by design.”

While the CPSC has made headway alongside Homeland Security inspectors in monitoring the ports to detect and detain shipments that contain violative toys, Chairman Tenenbaum stated that companies must do their part to ensure safety through sound design – especially considering nearly 20 billion toys are imported annually to the U.S. from China. “The final design needs to be right, every time,” she said, adding that design flaws are the chief cause of injuries and recalls.

During her 45-minute address, Chairman Tenenbaum noted that the CPSC “still has a lot of work to do in educating everyone in the industry … from manufacturers and importers to wholesalers and retailers” about the latest toy safety requirements.  The CPSC is currently involved in ongoing conversations with several institutions of higher learning to explore the development of certification programs related to best manufacturing processes in China, in the hopes of educating and training a future generation of experts in supply chain management.

In closing, Chairman Tenenbaum stated that she believes “2012 will be another successful year for toy safety” and urged the audience to “take the necessary steps [to comply with the CPSIA] now so that children are safe and happy when your toys reach their hands.”

“I want statistics for injuries and recalls to decline this year, and I just know that the industry is up for this challenge. From New York to Hong Kong and everywhere in between, I want us to be partners …We’re here to educate, inform and empower you to ensure that your products comply with the law.”

Immediately following the Chairman’s address, CPSC Small Business Ombudsman Neal Cohen spoke to the crowd, discussing the various resources available to toy companies through the Small Business Ombudsman office as well as updates to the CPSIA and the recent changes to the U.S. Toy Safety Standard F963.

Held from 9:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center during Toy Fair, the educational seminar also included presentations by Joan Lawrence, TIA vice president of standards and government affairs, who provided detailed information on toy safety standards, laws and compliance requirements in the U.S. and abroad and Al Kaufman, TIA senior vice president of technical affairs, who provided details about the newly revised F963 toy safety standard and practical tips on compliance. Federal and state legislative updates were also provided by TIA’s external affairs team, as well as information on Canadian EPR Legislation.