Saturday, May 16, 2009

Briefings #14 - 17

Briefing #14
These next videos showed questions and answers for various witnesses that had appeared earlier. I was impressed with the answers, I was not impressed with the questions themselves. They made me wonder if the committee had fallen asleep during the earlier testimonies...

Ms. Lang was asked about the small batches that she produces. What type of savings/relief would there be if she could rely on the tests conducted by her component suppliers instead of having to test the end product? She pointed out that not having to test for lead would be very helpful, but she also wisely noted that most fabric would not be tested for phthalates, since it isn't generally intended specifically for teething products -- so would also require an exemption to that requirement.

Back to Ms. Shreiber, and her personalized items -- everything would have to be tested under the current law -- couldn't even quantify the formidable costs under current restrictions. CPSIA, as stands, will result in her closing her business.

In regards to older items, being resold, question was asked: "Any economically feasible way for resellers to determine which products could be legally sold?" Her response, "Economically, I believe there is not." The cost of one testing gun, not including labor, is around $20,000.

And the last question was particularly troubling: "Overly burdensome regulations can put small businesses on an uneven playing field...Small businesses don't have the compliance resources..." Can you address that? (What had they been doing so far?)

Briefing #15
Has the stay of enforcement on testing helped or not?
Yes and no. It has helped those with lead free products that don't have to test for now. But for those who have lead issues, or in the case of resellers, the stay has not helped at all.

"If nothing changes in the law, when the stay is over, you may have to shut down your business?" "No, I WILL have to shut down if the law is not changed."

Briefing #16
This questioner seemed to me to be asking questions that shouldn't have needed to be asked, let alone answered:
"If one of problems CPSIA tried to resolve was lead in toys from overseas manufacturing, does it make sense to you that most of the testing labs are overseas?"

"The FDA has guidelines to exempt certain food items, would something similar help for CPSIA?"

And I really loved this question: "Has the Commission provided sufficient guidance?" (We want you to blame them for your problems, not us here in Congress who wrote the law...)

Briefing #17
The Chairman promises, "This is just the first step...And we're going to work to try to come up with a solution to this problem....Members of the committee have 5 days to submit written statements."

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