CPSC Votes to Exempt Items from Lead Act



The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has voted to keep some electronics and other products laden with lead from the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) which is set to take effect next month. The act primarily focuses on removing lead from toys by expanding the existing lead standard already in place for children’s toys, and makes lead testing by independent testers mandatory to ensure they are lead free.

The Commission, made up of two people, Acting Chairperson Nancy Nord and Commissioner Thomas Moore, are reported to have responded this way as a result of industry pressure. Lobbyists from the lead industry are hoping to avoid mandatory lead testing of bedding and mattresses, shoes, books, handheld computers, glass, bolts, and more because they don’t believe these items present no risk to children. This might be understandable to some considering there were over six million toys recalled in 2007 alone as a result of lead. Seventy-five brands were recalled by the CPSC, and 39 of these recalls were implemented due to the threat of lead poisoning.

Exposure to high amounts of lead can cause brain and nervous system damage in children. It can also affect children’s behavior and cause learning problems, hearing problems, headaches, and slow their growth and cause mental and physical retardation. Lead has also been tied to cancer and reproductive problems, as well as damage the nervous system in adults.