The National Association of Manufacturers this week joined a rally on Capitol Hill to urge Congress to make changes in the Consumer Product Safety Commission Improvement Act.
Along with senators, members of Congress, industry representatives and scientists, the trade group’s President John Engler on April 1 said the law caused unintended harm to consumers and businesses by applying the same criteria to a wide range of products, regardless of their intended use.
The controversy centers on specific chemicals known as phthalates used to make polyvinyl chloride flexible in a variety of products, including children’s toys and apparel.
On November 19, 1998, a coalition of consumer, public health, environmental and religious groups petitioned the Consumer Product Safety Commission to ban PVC products intended for children under five years of age. Around the world, governments and industry subsequently took action to eliminate PVC. Danish and Swedish governments are restricting PVC use, hundreds of communities worldwide are eliminating PVC in buildings and many companies such as Nike, IKEA and The Body Shop have committed to eliminating PVC from their products, said Greenpeace, one of the groups involved in the original petition.
In the United States, Congress passed CPSCIA in 2008 prohibiting the making or selling of children's products that contain phthalates.
“This misguided law has triggered the destruction of millions of safe products, costing businesses billions of dollars during one of the worst economic crises in U.S. history,” said Engler at the rally on Wednesday.
“By the CPSC's own account, implementation of the new law has overwhelmed the agency and jeopardized its ability to meet critical safety priorities. The law's unrealistic compliance deadlines made it impossible for the CPSC and industry to adequately prepare before the new law went into effect,” Engler said.
Engler relied on a letter from CPSC to Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., outlining the burdens the new law imposes on the agency.