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The Helmet Update

Volume 27, #1 - January 30, 2009

All issues index

CPSC delays some new testing and certification requirements

Summary: CPSC has granted a one year delay for helmet manufacturers to meet some of the new lead and phthalate limits imposed by last year's CPSIA legislation.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced today that it had granted a one year delay of enforcement of some of its new testing and certification requirements for lead, phthalates and toy standard compliance. Deep in the press release however, is a statement that manufacturers and importers still have to meet the requirements...but do not have to have test records and issue certificates of compliance. CPSC acknowledges that it is difficult to determine if products meet the new standards without testing.

There is no delay for lead paint and surface coating requirements, and no change in the requirements of the CPSC bicycle helmet standard.

The delay gives CPSC time to work out four proposed rules that could eliminate lead test requirements for some materials and products, and to issue more guidance on when testing is required and how it is to be conducted. Manufacturers and importers had been asking for that. There may eventually be some permanent relief for helmet manufacturers from some of the requirements, although savvy manufacturers and importers have already eliminated lead and phthalates from their products regardless of the CPSC requirements to meet regulations in California and other states, and for basic corporate responsibility reasons.

Consumer advocates are likely to react adversely to the postponement, and helmet manufacturers who have jumped through all the hoops to meet the deadlines are likely to be irritated that competitors who have lagged behind now have a grace period.

It is not certain that state attorneys general, who were granted some enforcement powers under the legislation passed last year, will follow suit, although CPSC "trusts" that they will.

Here is the CPSC announcement.

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)