ANSI: Toy Safety Takes High Priority with Standards Developers
October 22, 2007 // Published as a news service by IHS
The hearing - Enhancing the Safety of Our Toys: Lead Paint, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Toy Safety Standards - considered private and public sector efforts to strengthen toy safety amid a wave of high-profile toy recalls that have swept the industry in recent months.
Highlighting new and ongoing initiatives to develop standards-based solutions that will build consumer confidence, ANSI president S. Joe Bhatia underscored ANSI's commitment to working with both government and industry to strengthen current safety standards and conformity assessment systems.
"Government and industry need to work together if we are to restore consumer confidence in imported goods," said Bhatia. "ANSI stands ready to help coordinate this partnership."
Emphasizing the value of a sustainable approach to compliance verification, Bhatia also discussed key elements of ANSI's coordination initiative for the Toy Industry Association (TIA) to bolster toy safety testing and compliance systems.
Earlier this summer, the TIA board of directors approved a three-point program to reinforce the toy safety system, including:
- The concept of a federal requirement to make safety testing and inspection mandatory. Today it is not mandated.
- The development and standardization of compliance procedures that can be used industry-wide. Today these activities are defined by individual manufacturers and retailers.
- The harmonization of current practices used to evaluate the competence of the conformity assessment bodies that are evaluating compliance to requirements. These harmonized practices are also intended for use industry-wide.
"We need a system that is consistent and sustainable," Bhatia said. "We're going to focus our attention on two areas: improving how products are evaluated and assessing who is conducting the evaluations."
In related news, the CPSC and China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) announced an agreement to eliminate the use of lead paint on Chinese manufactured toys exported to the U.S.
The agencies also announced bilateral efforts to improve the overall safety of toys, cigarette lighters, fireworks and electrical products, all of which account for some of the most common consumer safety hazards.
Experts explained that the systems being developed will include standardized procedures that can be used across the toy industry to verify products comply with agreed safety requirements. These systems may also be a stepping stone for the solutions that are needed in other consumer-focused industries.
ANSI will also help the toy industry develop the tools they need to evaluate the competence of the organizations they are relying upon to conduct safety assessments.