Bill to Reduce Consequences of the CPSIA on Book Publishers and Other Industries Passes Congress

Today, Congress passed H.R. 2715, the Enhancing CPSC Authority and Discretion Act of 2011, to rectify issues with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA). Among other changes, the new legislation excludes “ordinary children’s reading books and children’s paper-based printed reading and learning materials from the lead-content third-party testing requirements of the CPSIA.” The bill is now headed to President Obama for his signature.

“Today’s vote finally begins to resolve a problem that has vexed the Consumer Product Safety Commission since CPSIA was enacted in 2008: the inadvertent inclusion of ordinary books and similar materials in its all-inclusive definition of ‘children’s products’ requiring testing for exposure to lead,” said Allan Adler, Vice President for Legal and Government Affairs, of the Association of American Publishers. “Children’s books, which are vital to literacy and educational development, have never been associated with lead exposure concerns yet were swept into this legislation at the outset.”

The CPSIA, a reaction to high lead and phthalates levels in children’s toys imported from China, placed strict testing requirements on many industries, such as book publishers, who had no history of safety issues. While not the intention of the bill, its implementation timeline and testing procedures proved prohibitive to many small businesses and was seen as a continuing burden to manufacturers, especially since the regulations applied retroactively.

“For thousands of American businesses, which strive to be responsible, ‘let’s do what’s best for consumers,’ CPSIA has taken an inordinate amount of their time trying to understand how each new regulation and standard will affect them. Unfortunately, many have gone out of business, attributing their demise to the burdens of compliance,” said Mary Bono Mack (R-CA), House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade. “Today, we are striking a very careful balance. As a nation, we simply cannot afford to lose jobs or stifle innovation because of questionable regulations. But we also have an obligation to make certain that our children’s toys remain safe.”

Previously, the CPSC had delayed enforcement of several CPSIA requirements.

More information

“Publishers Applaud House Vote to Exclude Ordinary Children’s Books and Printed Materials From Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act”
Association of American Publishers

“Lead Content in Children’s Books”
Association of American Publishers

“Congress Passes Bono Mack Bill to Protect American Consumers, American Jobs”
Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack website

Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act
Consumer Product Safety Commission

“Reprieve for Children’s Book Publishers–Consumer Product Safety Commission Delays Implementation of Some CPSIA Requirements”
The Association of Educational Publishers

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