JPMA Alaska Testimony
Thursday, January 28, 2016
Posted by: Lauren Schoener-Gaynor
Statement of Mark S. Fellin, MPS Director of Regulatory and Legislative Affairs, JPMA Senate Labor & Commerce Committee State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801
Thank you Chairwoman Costello, for the opportunity to provide testimony, on Senate Bill 111, to this Committee to assist your review and aid in your understanding of flame retardant chemicals in relation to juvenile products. I apologize for not being able to testify inperson at this time. The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) has a proud history of ensuring that juvenile products are built with safety in mind. As a new father to my 3 week old son and uncle to six young children under the age of 12, I know the importance of ensuring that our children are safe in all environments and that parents and caregivers are educated about the importance of juvenile safety and best practices.
JPMA has respect for the time and effort that the Committee has spent in advancing safety in Alaska. JPMA has a long history of working with the state and federal governments in advancing JPMA's core mission to be an information source, and to provide leadership for all stakeholders on the production and safe use of infant products.
Despite having the admirable the goal of improving children's safety, JPMA must respectfully oppose SB 111, introduced by Senator Mark Wielechohski, because it neither advances safety nor provides valuable and meaningful information to parents and caregivers. JPMA also opposes this bill because it will unnecessarily confuse and mislead consumers about the potential safety of the identified products, impose an added labeling requirement for products, and pose unnecessary and burdensome costs and obligations on both manufacturers and retailers.
If enacted, this legislation will ban a wide spectrum of chemicals and require a manufacturer of juvenile products to label whether a product contains added flame retardant chemicals, regardless of whether the product is safe . This legislation also unnecessarily treats all flame retardant chemicals equally whether or not, there is a scientifically based risk or not.We all share the same goal: improving the safety of our children. Like many parents, we wish to eliminate unnecessary chemicals that pose a risk to children's health and wish to be an active and forthcoming participant in the process. Please note that the juvenile products industry is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the country. Chemical use is already highly regulated under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA) which protects children from acute and chronic hazardous exposure to chemicals from children’s products. Additionally, the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) and the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) require juvenile products to meet hundreds of additional rules and regulations. Succinctly put, any children’s product that actually results in exposure to the substances you seek to regulate that presents an acute or chronic hazard is already considered a banned hazardous substance under the FHSA. This unique regulatory framework exists specifically for children’s products, as opposed to a wide variety of other consumer products.
JPMA’s past work with the the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the State of California and other states proves our commitment to safety and our willingness to work with all stakeholders to achieve regulations that benefit consumers and protect safety. For example, in the development and implementation of the revised California Technical Bulletin 117-2013, JPMA initiated many discussions and was proud to work collaboratively with the California Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation (BEARHFTI) as well as consumer groups and environmental advocates. Working together, we reached a solution whereby it was agreed that juvenile products, similar to other products, would be exempted from California’s strict flammability standard. These exemptions provided manufacturers with the relief necessary to reduce or eliminate the required use of certain restricted flame retardant chemicals in many juvenile products and afforded consumers a wider choice of products to aid in the protection and care of their children. Since the implementation of TB117-2013, all of our manufacturers have moved away from the use of certain flame retardants identified as potentially hazardous in California due to the fact that they are no longer required by law to meet the California’s flammability standard.
Conversely we must note that under federal law every component of a car seat (CRS) must meet NHTSA FMVSS 302, a stringent fire safety standard for automobiles and any item designed for use in the passenger compartment.
At JPMA, safety has been, and always will be, our top priority. However, SB 111 would not serve, in practice, to advance safety. Instead, it will impose unnecessary and burdensome costs to the manufacturing process, which could be passed on to consumers, by requiring labeling that does not provide meaningful or actionable information. Our members strive to work collaboratively with both federal and state legislators and regulators to advance product safety. Regulations and legislation play an important and vital role in ensuring that only the safest products make it to market, and JPMA will continue to support and advocate for regulation that is meaningful and beneficial to consumers.
Mark S. Fellin, MPS Director of Regulatory and Legislative Affairs, JPMA