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AAFA Urges CPSC to Enforce Stronger Safety Standards

New safety standards for clothing and textiles have been established by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and now they should be strongly enforced.

That’s the message Michael McDonald, manager of government relations for the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA), sent to the CPSC.

McDonald cited Public Law 112-28, enacted in 2011, which reduces burdensome third party testing, and gives CPSC greater authority and discretion in enforcing safety laws.  His remarks were included in written testimony for a CPSC hearing to determine the agency’s priorities and strategies for the coming fiscal year.

McDonald also expressed his disappointment with the CPSC for not acting on most of the suggestions from the AAFA on these issues.

The CPSC is an independent US regulatory agency, created in 1972, that helps keep American families safe by reducing the risk of injury or death from consumer products.  The CPSC has issued specific safety standards for clothing, which includes guidelines for fire retardant textiles, chemical toxicity, and fit.

McDonald urged AAFA members to pursue product safety as their top priority and suggested three major objectives for the CPSC.

Besides McDonald’s call for stronger enforcement of safety standards for apparel and footwear, he also recommended a sharp focus on cost-benefit analysis in rule making. Additionally, he encouraged the CPSC to target areas of the greatest risk and hazards with more direct responses and to employ scarce resources for these objectives.

Special emphasis musty be given to children’s sleepwear, said McDonald, urging strong, proper and fair enforcement of applicable laws.

“In the case of children’s sleepwear, we [the AAFA] have provided the commission with examples of non-compliant children’s sleepwear that remains on the market and continues to be sold year after year,” McDonald wrote.

“The presence of non-compliant product raises fundamental safety issues and creates unfair competitive advantages.  It is for this reason that we strongly encourage the CPSC to look at its policies regarding industry communications.”

The AAFA represents more than 1,000 major brands of clothing and footwear, formulates and advocates public policy and is the voice of the industry, its management, workers and shareholders.  Recent annual retail clothing sales average $350 billion.