The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade recently held a hearing “to examine the unintended consequences” of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008. Chaired by Representative Mary Bono Mack, (R-Calif.), the hearing focused on how small businesses were affected by the Act, particularly its requirements for third-party testing to certify that the lead content in children’s toys does not exceed CPSC standards.

“As a mother, I have very strong, passionate feelings about protecting all children,” Bono Mack said in a press release issued by committee Republicans. “But as a former small business owner, I know all too well how unnecessary regulations—even well intentioned ones—can destroy lives, too. This is a rare opportunity to put aside the differences that often divide this great body and put our heads together to make a good law even better.”

Calling for the elimination of third-party testing of all children’s products, Commissioner Anne Northup of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) testified that such a move could allow CPSC “to retain its authority to impose such requirements only where necessary to address a risk.” CPSC Chair Inez Tenenbaum, however, apparently opposes wholesale changes to CPSIA, preferring to give CPSC more leeway in exempting certain products from lead testing and help small toy manufacturers with third-party testing costs. See House Energy & Commerce Committee Republicans Press Release and Anne Northup Safety and Common Sense Blog, February 18, 2011.