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BPSA Examines Impacts of New Law

Published September 29, 2008

LAS VEGAS, NV (BRAIN)—The Bicycle Product Suppliers’ Association dedicated its board meeting at Interbike last Friday to discussing the implications on the industry of the recently updated Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Bob Burns, Trek’s legal counsel and head of the BPSA’s legislative committee, led the hour-and-a-half meeting with a presentation outlining the immediate impacts of the new law, which passed in August.

The most significant potential effect involves a CPSC standard that requires manufacturers to supply all bikes and helmets with a general assessment certification that shows conformity with CPSC standards with the product on import by Nov. 12.

The certificate must be in English and contain identification of each rule applicable to the product; identification of the manufacturer; date and place the product was made; and contact information.

The only stumbling block is that the CSPC hasn’t yet drafted a certification form, although Trek has created its own certificate to use in the mean time.

Currently, the bicycle industry is regulated by a self-certifying process that was devised in the 1980s. The CPSC doesn’t regularly test bikes for compliance and relies on manufacturers or importers to certify they’ve complied with the regulations, many of which are outdated and don’t account for recent technological advances.

The Consumer Product Safety Information Act was first introduced in Congress last year due to a series of high-profile recalls of Chinese-made toys containing lead.

The new Act earmarks more money for the CPSC—$118.2 million in 2010 and $136.4 million by 2014—and that could mean greater enforcement of the regulations in the future.

Other potential impacts down the road include a ban on phthalates in child’s toys by February 2009 and a requirement for a third-party laboratory to certify products manufactured after Dec. 22 meet new lead standards.

The industry will also face stiffer penalties for non-compliance with the new regulations. Civil penalties are now $100,000 per violation with a $15 million maximum and criminal penalties, which may include issuing a false certificate, can be punishable by up to five years in prison.

The CPSC will hold a series of public hearings on the new law at its headquarters in Maryland, starting on Thursday with a session on testing and certification.

For more on how the new law will affect the industry, look for more Web updates and read the November issue of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.

To read the new law in its entirety, click on the link above.

—Nicole Formosa

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