ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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U.S. House of Representatives Calls on ANSI for Toy Safety Coordination Update

Washington, DC, Nov 06, 2007

Lane Hallenbeck, vice president of accreditation services for the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), testified today on the issue of toy safety before a Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The hearing was called by the Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection to examine private and public sector efforts to bolster the safety of children’s products.

Highlighting ANSI’s unique ability to bring together diverse stakeholders in a spirit of cooperation and collaboration, Mr. Hallenbeck outlined the efforts of the Toy Safety Coordination Initiative, an ongoing partnership between ANSI and the Toy Industry Association (TIA) that is working to reinforce the toy safety system [see related article].

“The program we are developing is committed to improving product safety, not just reducing the number of recalls,” said Mr. Hallenbeck. “Our solutions will draw from a toolbox of conformity assessment resources, including testing and inspection, systems auditing, accredited certification programs, and – of course – education and training.”

Hallenbeck went on to describe the Initiative’s working groups on testing and reporting, process control, and design, as well as its steering committee which is comprised of representatives from all affected stakeholders, including consumer groups and the U.S. government.

The Initiative’s recommendations are targeted for broad review and approval – including a public comment period and a formal evaluation and endorsement by TIA – before year-end. Implementation is expected to begin in early 2008.

Also testifying before the subcommittee were Nancy Nord and Thomas Moore of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Joseph McGuire of the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, and representatives of Hasbro, Inc., the American Academy of Pediatrics, Safe Kids Worldwide, and the Consumer Federation of America.

Principally, subcommittee members and witnesses directed their attention to H.R. 4040, a new bill introduced last week to establish consumer product safety requirements for children’s products and to reauthorize and modernize the CPSC. A section-by-section summary of the bill is available here.

H.R. 4040 calls for the mandatory third-party testing of children’s toys and certain other products. In her response to a question about testing requirements, Nancy Nord, acting chair of the CPSC, specifically cited ANSI and TIA’s Toy Safety Coordination Initiative as an example of ongoing work in this area.

A webcast of the hearing’s proceedings will be made available on the Committee on Energy and Commerce website. Mr. Hallenbeck’s testimony is currently available for review and download here.

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