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New Product Safety law still problem for apparel makers
11
Sep '09
Stung by provisions in the new children's product safety law that have impacted their businesses without improving safety, a coalition of apparel manufacturers called on Congress to review some provisions in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in order to address serious unintended consequences in the new law.

In a letter to Chairman Henry Waxman and other members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, the Coalition for Safe and Affordable Childrenswear voiced disappointment that businesses were not asked to testify at the first hearing convened by the committee to examine implementation of the year-old law.

In the letter, Coalition President Steven Levy urged the Committee to consider the perspective of businesses grappling with the unintended consequences of the sweeping new law.

"We welcomed the CPSIA when it was passed," wrote Levy, "however its overly broad definition of children's products, unrealistic implementation timelines, and the lack of clear guidance from the CPSC has caused very considerable confusion in the marketplace. We are struggling to implement the numerous provisions of the CPSIA without the benefit of the required direction and clarifications by the CPSC."

The Coalition for Safe and Affordable Childrenswear represents nearly 130 small family-owned children's clothing manufacturers in the New York area that have been making safe children's products for years. Many of the group's companies are being run by the second and in some cases the fourth generations of the company founders.

"Because the CPSIA prohibits the CPSC from using risk assessment in enforcing the law, we remain obligated to conduct costly and time-consuming tests to repeatedly prove that our safe products conform to the lead standards," wrote Levy. "Put simply, these and other burdensome provisions of the CPSIA threaten our ability to remain in business and provide jobs and do nothing to improve product safety."

"It is our view that the only way to resolve many of these issues is to amend the law to provide for a common sense, risk-based approach," Levy concludes. "As you know, there have been more than 10 bills introduced in Congress to amend the CPSIA. We strongly urge you to begin the legislative process and provide the appropriate relief."

Coalition for Safe and Affordable Childrenswear

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