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Coalition Seeks Changes In CPSC Lead In Textiles Rule

James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

A coalition of textile and apparel manufacturers' and importers' trade associations has weighed in on a Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regulation covering lead in textiles, stating that "textiles are inherently lead free," and therefore should be exempt from the rule.

In heavily documented comments filed with the commission, the coalition urged CPSC to exempt textiles and apparel from the rule issued on February 6 requiring testing and certification of the lead content in toys and other items used by children 12 years of age and younger, including textiles and apparel. The commission subsequently issued a one-year stay for testing requirement, but at the same time, it said products must still meet the standard for lead content. 

The coalition's filing said: "We urge the commission in its final rules amending the regulation to recognize that textile materials are inherently lead-free and to exempt them from the rule."

The filing added that by incorporating the recommended modifications and clarifications in its final rule, CPSC can reduce costs of unnecessary testing and compliance burdens of products that do not contain lead, and instead "focus critical resources on products and components where there is more risk."

The coalition told the commission that its members support "common sense, enforceable safety rules that are easy to understand, that are based on risk data, and that are the result of a predictable process."

A coalition of consumer groups, including the Consumers Union and the Consumer Federation of America, said it supports procedures for exempting certain products and materials as long as they are based on "best-available, objective and peer-reviewed scientific evidence showing that lead in such products will not result in absorption of any lead into the body." They said exemptions should be subject to hearings and public comment in order to be approved.

February 24, 2009