During the Senate confirmation hearing for incoming CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye and Commissioner Joe Mohorovic, Senator John Thune (R-SD) asked each candidate what the CPSC could do to reduce the burden of Third-Party testing for manufacturers and importers of children’s products. In response to the Senator Thune questioning, both Chairman Kaye and Commissioner Mohorovic submitted a joint letter outlining three areas of focus for the Commission to reduce the burden of testing.
- Expanding the CPSC’s “determinations” for lead to include the other seven (7) heavy metals that are required for testing under ASTM F963-11. A CPSC determination exempts certain materials from testing based on either scientific data or consistent third-party test results which demonstrate that the heavy element(s) do not naturally occur in the material. Currently for lead materials such as wood, CMYK inks, natural and synthetic fibers are exempt from lead testing. These materials and perhaps others would be expanded to include the other seven (7) heavy metals.
- Research and compare other international standards such as ISO 8124 or EN-71 to current US Standards such as ASTM F963-11 for “equivalency” in testing methods and safety standards. If found to be equivalent, then manufacturers or importers who have previously tested their products to these standards would not need to test their products to the equivalent U.S. Standards.
- Producing guidance for the allowance of “de minimis” third-party testing exemptions where the area requiring testing on the product has a mass weight of less than 10 mg would require testing. While these very small areas on the product would still need to comply with any applicable chemical content limits, the CPSC would not require testing to demonstrate compliance.
While the Chairman and Commissioner did not give a timeline for beginning the process of implementing the points outlined in the letter, it is expected to be a “hot button” for Senator Thune who is expected to become the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation in the next Congress which oversees the CPSC.