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Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute

The Helmet Update by email

Volume 28, #2, February 18, 2010

All issues index

CPSC Update

February 17 was "CPSC Day" at ICPHSO, an organization of product safety advocates, manufacturers and regulators. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is important to helmet standards in a number of ways.

CPSC staff has new energy, shows new enthusiasm and appreciates the added resources they are receiving at last. They are making good progress in plowing through the mound of requirements dumped on them by the 2008 CPSIA legislation. The agency has a full compliment of five Commissioners for the first time in 20 years, and they have even been able to reach consensus on some issues. Morale has clearly improved.

The CPSC staff comments were mostly off the record as "my own opinion, not cleared by the Commission" but some interesting points emerged relevant to helmets:

A lot is happening at CPSC, and if you are in favor of more effective consumer product regulation it is all encouraging. Much of the focus is on children's products. A few in the audience were privately exchanging relentless criticism in the current political style, so it will not all be smooth going.

For helmets, the changes at CPSC will increase mandatory third party testing to verify compliance, but will not change the current standard. Lead and phthalates are being reduced or eliminated from helmet components, but the future of nano products is a question mark. There is a possibility that CPSC will enforce ASTM standards for other types of helmets, or even adopt their own legally-required Rules. If they ever do, it would eliminate non-bicycle helmets now being sold here that do not meet ASTM standards for their sport.