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The Helmet Update

Volume 26, #2 - September 7, 2008

All issues index

Consumer Product Safety Commission has new legislative authority

Summary: The Consumer Product Safety Commission has new legislative authority as of August 14th, with new powers and Congressional directives to change some procedures and make new rules. Helmet manufacturers will be affected, but consumers will see little change in the helmets in the stores. The rules even apply to non-profits distributing free helmets.

Congress has lit a fire under CPSC with deadlines, and the agency is scrambling to comply with new requirements. In short:

CPSC will be enforcing new rules on lead, lead in paint (already regulated), phthalates (plastic softening agents) and documentation after November 12th. Other changes follow at intervals over a period beginning in December.

The definition of products for children, with the most stringent requirements, includes toddler helmets and probably most youth helmets. Testing by a certified lab will be required starting December 12 for children's products, not just the manufacturer's own facility.

CPSC is required to enforce the ASTM F963 toy safety standard beginning in September of 2009. That does not include real safety helmets but does include toy helmets, requiring that they be labeled as toys offering no protection.

No recalled products can be exported or sold within the US. Non-compliant products arriving at a port can be destroyed rather than sent back. They cannot be re-exported to another country without that country's approval.

The rules about "sales" even apply to non-profits distributing free helmets, including service clubs, fire departments, schools and others. You are not permitted to distribute any recalled products.

Information on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) is available on the CPSC website and of course we have a page up on the new law with more details on how it affects helmets.

The Helmet Update - Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute
Randy Swart, Editor
4611 Seventh Street South
Arlington, VA 22204-1419 USA
(703) 486-0100 (voice)
(703) 486-0576 (fax)