The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a 131-page staff roadmap document recommending ways to achieve global harmonization of existing toy safety regulations. The document calls for industry to play a key role in harmonizing the regulatory standards of international jurisdictions.
Urging regulators to “cooperate primarily on the core work for which they are responsible, not on aligning the world’s voluntary industry standards,” CPSC notes that “industry is better placed than governments to select which areas of the world’s various industry toy safety standards make the best candidates for alignment, as well as the schedule for undertaking such work.” According to CPSC, most jurisdictions draw their toy safety requirements from major industry reference standards, such as ASTM, CEN and ISO. And the major standards organizations “are almost exclusively guided by industry experts.”
To align standards, CPSC recommends that industry and regulators (i) “continue to examine carefully input from stakeholders about potential improvements in toy safety, including suggestions for improved safety stemming from alignment of existing unique CPSC regulations with requirements in other jurisdictions”; (ii) “coordinate with foreign regulators on future toy safety rules to the extent that U.S. consumers may benefit from increased product safety”; (iii) “facilitate an annual international regulators meeting on emerging consumer product safety issues” to “discuss future toy safety regulations in all represented jurisdictions in order to better inform coordination work”; (iv) “ask other regulators to use their influence to press for improved international coordination on toy safety standards by their relevant standards bodies”; and (v) “promote international coordination among ASTM International and the other key toy safety standards bodies.” See BNA Product Safety & Liability Reporter, May 23, 2011.