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Bill Aims to Ease Lead Limit Law

Published April 25, 2011

WASHINGTON (BRAIN)—A U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee is considering a bill that would revise a three-year-old law limiting the amount of lead in children’s products, potentially to the benefit of bike manufacturers.

The draft bill, first introduced to the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on commerce, manufacturing and trade on March 29, aims to make the Consumer Product Safety Information Act (CPSIA) friendlier for small manufacturers and crafters of children’s products.

It proposes lowering the age threshold for children’s products from 12 to six and postponing the deadline for the step down to a lead limit of 100 parts per million so the Consumer Product Safety Commission can determine if that limit is feasible, among other changes.

At an April 7 hearing on the draft, Erika Jones, an attorney representing the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association, testified in support of CPSIA reform, saying BPSA members had made progress toward reducing unnecessary lead in children’s products over the past three years, but there is still much uncertainty as the date for products to meet the 100 parts per million standard looms in August.

One concern is shrinkage of the market for companies willing to market children’s bicycles. According to Jones, the number of manufacturers selling kids’ bikes has diminished even though sales volume is stable.

The CPSIA, passed in August 2008, called for third-party testing of lead content in children’s products, including bicycles and helmets, but the deadlines have been repeatedly pushed back amid issues such as a lack of testing facilities and confusion interpreting the legislation.

A revision has been expected due to bipartisan consensus that the law created many problems for manufacturers of children’s products after the original bill passed. To move forward, the draft bill first has to pass out of committee before going to the full House and Senate.

—Nicole Formosa

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