Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act

Below you will find information on Printing Industries' Government Advocacy involvement and background information on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008.

Background

On August 14, 2008, President Bush signed into law the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008. The legislation, in large part a response to high-profile recalls of both imported and domestically produced children’s toys and products, greatly expands the authority of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and regulates potentially hazardous children’s products, among other things. Specifically, the Act establishes lead and phthalate (e.g., plasticizers that could be found in inks, coatings, and adhesives) content limits and requires testing and certifying of products to ensure they do not exceed these limits. These new regulations include children’s books and other printed materials as products subject to the new limits and testing requirements. Lead and phthalate limits and testing requirements went into effect February 10, 2011.

On August 12, 2011, President Obama signed into law the House of Representatives Bill 2715 (H.R. 2715). The bill’s passage was the culmination of more than two years of effort by the Printing Industries of America and a coalition of other key printing groups before the Consumer Product Safety Commission and in the halls of Congress. Considerable resources were dedicated to providing environmental data, explaining print manufacturing processes, and urging lawmakers to take action to undo or reduce the unintended consequences of the original law passed in 2008.

The bill provided much-needed flexibility and discretion to the Consumer Product Safety Commission to implement this law, and most importantly it excludes all paper-based printed materials and most children’s books from onerous third-party testing and certification requirements now in place for any and all products marketed to children 12 years of age or younger. While all children’s manufactured products received a measure of general relief from CPSIA, “ordinary books” and “paper-based printed materials” (see legislative definition below) were one of only two product categories to gain an exclusion from the environmental and consumer regulation. Youth all-terrain vehicles/bicycles composed the other category.

In addition to the changes brought by H.R. 2715, CPSC has provided for exemptions from testing and certification for certain component materials, and two testing rules addressing component testing and product testing have been issued in final form. Since the stay on all testing and certification has been lifted, products that require third-party testing and certification must be done prior to them being distributed in commerce. The name of the required certificate was revised with the product testing rule and is now identified as a Children’s Product Certification (CPC).

Printing Industries of America Position
Printing Industries of America commends the general intent of the Act and hopes that it leads to increased consumer safety for children. Printing Industries of America also is concerned that the Act will impact negatively the production and use of books and other printed material and believes urgent action to exempt ordinary books and printed material is needed to avoid confusion and devastation in the printing, publishing and retail marketplace.

111th Congress and Obama Administration
Printing Industries of America is working with allies in the publishing industry to make the case for the safety of printed materials before the CPSC and Congress. Key legislators, including House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) have been critical of the CPSC’s process for implementing the legislation, calling for more clarity and timeliness in the regulatory process. Waxman, however, has been reluctant to modify the law to offer exemptions for printed products. The CPSC has requested, and Printing Industries of America has provided, test date to help determine whether children’s books and other printed materials should be granted an exemption to the CPSIA.

Key Committees: Senate Commerce; House Energy and Commerce

Printer's Guidance

  • For information on meeting the requirements of the CPSIA, please visit the Environmental, Health, and Safety Department's CPSIA Compliance page.

Printing Industries’ Advocacy

Coalition Advocacy

Capitol Hill Advocacy

Policy & Research

Media Advocacy

Published on Tuesday, January 10, 2012 (updated 03/13/2013)

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