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Monday January 15, 2018

Comments Split on CPSC Nixing ASTM Push/Pull-Toy Noise Update

Two additional comments on CPSC's move to adopt revisions to the ASTM F963 standard were split negative/positive. The former could delay the action if it is deemed to be significant. Otherwise, the effective date will be February 28.

 

The contrary comment came from the Toy Association, which suggested (bit.ly/2qMsxzL) that the commission would exceed its authority related to a substituted test method for certain noise producing toys. It asserted:

"The Commission’s authority pursuant to section 106(g) of the CPSIA only allows it to accept or veto proposed changes. A 'whole cloth' substitution, as now proposed for a distinct category of pull and push toys, must independently be subject to rulemaking and a supporting record. It cannot be merely inserted by the staff and characterized as preserving the current requirement’s status quo, when closer scrutiny indicates otherwise: that it represents a deviation from the existing 2016 requirement."

The group additionally suggested that CPSC misunderstood that the underlying issue was an exemption, writing, "[T]he changes…never involved elimination of an existing requirement, only clarification of an existing requirement that already specified C Peak testing." CPSC staff had urged against accepting the revision (PSL, 11/20/17), arguing that it would not improve safety.

 

Meanwhile, a coalition of consumer groups jointly wrote (bit.ly/2AKVGey) that they supported CPSC's rejection of the noise provision when otherwise moving to incorporate the recent changes to F963. They explained:

"The Test Methods section of ASTM F963-17 sought to include an additional sentence in Section 8.20.1.5 (5) which exempts pull/push toys from the A-weighted maximum sound pressure level requirement. We support the CPSC’s rejection of these changes on the basis that the changes decrease safety by allowing toys on the market that produce sound levels exceeding noise exposure limits set by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. We agree that this change would also diverge from the European standard EN-71 and make harmonization more difficult."

The groups were Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union (with a second signature from Consumer Reports), Kids in Danger, Public Citizen, and U.S. PIRG.

 

They additionally urged CPSC to focus on emerging hazards involving connected toys and emerging hazards.

 

A third comment available before these also supported staffers' views on the noise item (PSL, 1/8/18).