Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tracking Labels coming soon...

**UPDATE** the Washington Times is not a fan either -- see today's editorial...

Well, one month left until the Tracking Label provision of the CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act) becomes law, and yet there has been no guidance (as in ZERO) from the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) as to how companies should proceed.

Like so much else related to the CPSIA, this provision sounds good to begin with -- Products intended for children must have labels that clearly indicate to consumers the manufacturer, date and location of production, as well as lot and batch information. This is designed to make it easier to recall any tainted products.

There are lots of things wrong with the Label provision, as others have written about more clearly than I can... See:

Richard Woldenberg's posts on Tracking Lables

Wikipedia on Criticisms of the CPSIA

CPSIA Central's piece on Tracking Labels

It is unimaginable to the Commission that the government could allow a major change to something so basic, without providing any guidance on how manufacturers are supposed to comply.

These labels are not only problems for importers from China -- it is just as big a problem for domestic companies, and along with the remarkably incoherent testing requirements is simply driving small companies out of business.

The saddest part is that none of this will make children safer. There were lots of ways to address risks to children, but in creating the CPSIA, Congress and the President (and it was President Bush who signed it), seem to have ignored every one of them in creating this law.

See the National Center for Policy Analysis for their take on the impact of this legislation. Or take a look at for their thoughts.

Fair warning, the more you read the higher the risk of spikes in blood pressure...

[...edited to include a good piece on tracking labels from]