CPSC Solicits Comments on Legislative Directives that Could Directly Impact Your Company

December 3, 2008

If you manufacture, import, distribute, or sell children's products or other consumer products governed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), or component parts for these products, please take a few moments to review the provided information and click on the links below.  The CPSC is currently soliciting comments on important legislative directives that could directly impact your company's future.  If you would like Frost Brown Todd LLC to assist you in formulating and issuing a comment, please contact one of our product liability specialist immediately.  

The CPSC is currently soliciting comments in the following areas:
Children's Products and Child Care Articles:  Subsection 108(b)(1) of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) prohibits the manufacture, import, distribution, or sale of "children's toys that can be placed in a child's mouth" or child care articles containing certain levels of banned phthalates.  Phthalates are chemicals used in a variety of common household products and toys.  They are mostly used to soften plastics.  About a billion pounds of phthalates are produced worldwide each year.
A "children's toy" is defined as "a consumer product designed or intended by the manufacturer for a child 12 years of age or younger for use by the child when the child plays."  A "child care article" is defined as "a consumer product designed or intended by the manufacturer to facilitate sleep or the feeding of children age 3 and younger, or to help such children with sucking or teething."  If the children's product can only be licked, it is not regarded as something that can be placed in the mouth.  If a toy or part of a toy is one dimension smaller than 5 centimeters, it can be placed in the mouth.
The CPSC is in the process of establishing the Chronic Hazard Advisory Panel (CHAP).  The CHAP will review the effects that phthalates have on children.  The CHAP will make a recommendation to the CPSC in February, 2009 on the necessity of a continued phthalate ban. 
Comments on the use of phthalates in children's products will be accepted until January 12, 2009.  Please click here for more information from the CPSC's website.
All Consumer Products Governed by the CPSC:  The CPSIA increases the amount of civil penalties a company is subject to if it violates the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) or the CPSIA.  A violator is subject to penalty even if it acted in good faith.  The increases are effective when a final regulation is issued by the CPSC or one year after the enactment of the CPSIA (August 14, 2008), whichever is earlier.  The increase is dramatic, from $5,000 per offense to $100,000 per offense, with a maximum penalty that increases from $1,250,000 to $15,000,000.
The CPSC is currently accepting comment on the factors to be considered in determining the amount of civil penalties.  These factors will apply to the CPSA, the Federal Hazardous Substances Act, and the Flammable Fabrics Act. 

Comments on the factors considered by the CPSC in assessing civil penalties will be accepted until December 18, 2009Please click here for more information from the CPSC's website.