CPSC Clarifies Requirements for Testing of Dyed Textiles and Component Testing
Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt LLP
In a Federal Register notice dated October 14, 2015, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) published a final rule amending the regulations to clarify lead content testing requirements for dyed textiles in children’s products as well as the use of component part testing. The CPSC found that some companies were misinterpreting these requirements resulting in unnecessary third-party testing burdens and costs.
The final rule contains the following amendments:
- Children’s textile products subject to testing: The rule clarifies that dyed textiles are not subject to the 3rd party testing requirements for lead in children’s products regardless of the techniques used to produce or apply the dyes. For example, a printing process utilizing dyes will not require testing. In contrast, the same printing process using non-dye finishes, decorations, colorants, or prints, will require 3rd party testing and certification. The CPSC noted that while some dyes may initially contain lead, the finished textile would not contain lead above a non-detectable level after rinsing.
- Component part testing rule: The rule clarifies that the use of component part testing is not limited to paint, lead content of children’s products and phthalates in children’s toys and child care articles. For example, component part testing may also be utilized for other restricted chemicals listed in ASTM F963 (the mandatory toy standard).
Comments must be submitted by November 13, 2015. If no significant adverse comments are received, the rule is effective on December 14, 2015.
Government Secures Injunctions Against Two California Companies and Three Individuals to Stop Importation of Dangerous Children’s Products
U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission
WASHINGTON D.C.– The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it filed two civil actions in federal court in the Central District of California, seeking to enjoin the importation and sale of illegal and dangerous children’s products by two California companies and three individuals for importing. DOJ filed the two actions at the request of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), alleging that the defendants were responsible for importing children’s products containing, among other things, lead, phthalates and small parts posing a choking hazard for children under the age of 3. The companies and defendant individuals have agreed to settle the lawsuits and be bound by a consent decree of permanent injunction.
“Companies who do not comply with CPSC’s statutes and regulations regarding toys put American children at risk,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “Parents have a right to feel confident that the toys their children play with are safe.”
“We have zero tolerance for companies and individuals who put children at risk,” said CPSC Chairman Elliot F. Kaye. “To protect our children from unsafe and dangerous toys, we’ll continue to use all available enforcement tools at our disposal as well as continue to collaborate with our federal partners. Parents deserve no less when it comes to the safety of their children’s toys.”
“There is no greater responsibility of the Department of Justice than to protect our nation’s children,” said U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker of the Central District of California. “Today’s action demonstrates the Department’s commitment to keeping our children safe from all sources of harm.”
Both complaints allege that the defendants imported toys and other children’s products in violation of the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) and the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA). One complaint was filed against Brightstar Group Inc., a Los Angeles importer and retailer of children’s products and toys, and its owner, Sherry Chen, 61, of Arcadia, Calif. According to the complaint, CPSC collected dozens of samples from Brightstar’s import shipments as they attempted to enter the Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach, Calif., and from Brightstar’s Los Angeles facility. Based on their findings, CPSC issued nine Letters of Advice between September 2013 and April 2015, notifying the Brightstar defendants that their products violated federal standards.
CPSC found numerous children’s products, including a fire engine set, a tea set, toy boxing gloves, collapsing stroller and marbles, in violation of the CPSA, the FHSA and related regulations. Most of the violative products were stopped at import and were not sold to consumers. Chen is also sued for violations that include importing violative infant rattles, occurring while Chen was the manager of Taifung Corp., a now-dissolved California corporation owned by her husband that also imported and sold children’s products and toys.
A separate action was filed against Unik Toyz Trading Inc. (Unik), a Los Angeles importer and retailer of children’s products and toys, Unik’s owner, Julie Tran, 33, and the company’s manager, Kiet Tran, 38, both of Arcadia, Calif. CPSC identified 39 samples of children’s products imported by Unik, including toy cars, toy trains, bubble guns and art materials, that violate federal standards for children’s toys, as set forth in the complaint. These violations include illegal levels of lead content and toys intended for children under the age of 3 that contained small parts and accessible batteries.
The defendants in both lawsuits agreed to settle the litigation and be bound by a consent decree of permanent injunction. All of the defendants agreed to immediately cease all importation and sale of toys and children’s products, unless and until the CPSC determines that the firm’s practices have come into compliance with the law and with various remedial measures set out in the decrees. The Unik consent decree has been entered by the court and the proposed Brightstar consent decree is awaiting judicial approval.
The cases are being handled by Trial Attorneys Melanie Singh and Ann F. Entwistle of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch, with the assistance of Renee McCune of the CPSC’s Office of the General Counsel. The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Central District of California also provided assistance.
Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action
U.S. Department of State
On July 14, 2015, the P5+1, the European Union, and Iran reached a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful. October 18, 2015 marks “Adoption Day” under the JCPOA – the day on which the JCPOA becomes effective and participants begin to make the necessary preparations for implementation of their JCPOA commitments.
In connection with Adoption Day, on October 18, 2015, the President issued a memorandum directing the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Commerce, and the Secretary of Energy to take all appropriate preparatory measures to ensure the prompt and effective implementation of the U.S. commitments set forth in the JCPOA upon Iran’s fulfillment of the requisite conditions. In particular, the President directed the agencies to take steps to give effect to the U.S. commitments with respect to sanctions described in the JCPOA beginning on Implementation Day, which will occur only once the IAEA verifies that Iran has implemented key nuclear-related measures described in the JCPOA.
In addition, on October 18, 2015, the Secretary of State issued contingent waivers of certain statutory sanctions provisions. These waivers are not currently in effect and will only take effect on Implementation Day.
Until Implementation Day is reached, the only changes to the Iran-related sanctions are those provided for in the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) of November 24, 2013, as extended. The Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued Frequently Asked Questions relating to Adoption Day. OFAC will provide further guidance on the sanctions measures that will be lifted pursuant to the JCPOA, as well as those measures that will remain in place, prior to Implementation Day.
-10/18/15 JCPOA Contingent Waivers
-10/18/15 Presidential Memorandum on Adoption Day
- OFAC Iran Sanctions FAQs
Port Authority Launces Next Phase of Truck Replacement Program for Port of NY/NJ
Port of New York & New Jersey
Program continues efforts to phase out older trucks in the port to provide significant environmental benefits, building on the 33 percent reduction in port pollutants already achieved through several Port Authority initiatives.
The Port Authority today launched the next phase of its Truck Replacement Program to provide truckers who regularly call on the Port of New York and New Jersey terminals with financial incentives to replace their older vehicles with cleaner and safer ones, building on the 33 percent reduction in port pollutants already achieved since 2006.
The agency will use a $2 million federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement grant to help truckers cover up to 50 percent - up to a maximum of $25,000 per truck - of the cost of purchasing a replacement truck with a model year 2007 or newer engine. The grant money will provide enough funding to cover the purchase of 80 trucks. The 80 newer trucks are projected to result in emission reductions of approximately 42 tons of particulate matter and 708 tons of nitrogen oxides over the lives of the replacement vehicles. This program, combined with others previously instituted in the port, have resulted in an average 33 percent reduction across all port related pollutant emissions, despite a 7 percent increase in port cargo over the same period between 2006 and 2013.
Grant recipients must already own or lease a truck with a model year 1994 to 2006 engine and call on the Port Authority’s marine terminals at least 150 times a year. Funding is available on a first-come, first-served basis with priority on replacing older, heavy emitting trucks first, specifically trucks with 1994 through 1997 engines. The old truck must be scrapped.
To further assist truckers in replacing their old vehicles, the Port Authority will implement similar grant programs with an additional $7 million in federal grant money for truck replacement that it expects to receive over the next two years, and with $200,000 in agency funds. The agency also is working closely with financial institutions to explore whether low interest loans would be available to the trucking community. Alternatives to the current plan to phase out older trucks serving the port, which may affect engine model year access and implementation date(s), are also currently being evaluated.
"Replacing older model trucks with newer ones is a critical component of our clean air strategy and one that will provide significant environmental benefits not only on port property but in the communities that surround it," said Port Authority Port Commerce Director Molly Campbell. "We will work closely with all the appropriate stakeholders to get their input and advise on how we can best move this important program forward."
Since the program began in 2010, the Port Authority has facilitated the replacement of 429 older trucks with newer models. The program has resulted in an estimated annual emission reductions of 356 tons of nitrogen oxide and 14 tons of fine particulate matter, which represent roughly 70 and 64 percent reductions respectively in both pollutants.
In addition to the truck program, the Port Authority, through its Clean Air Strategy for the Port of New York and New Jersey, has implemented other emission reduction actions at its port facilities, including the investment of more than $600 million in environmentally friendly rail facilities at all of its port terminals - including the recently approved rail facility to serve Global Terminal in Jersey City - which are funded primarily through the agency's Cargo Facility Charge. In addition, the agency has provided incentives to modernize cargo-handling equipment and to encourage the use of low-sulfur fuel in ocean-going vessels as well as to attract the cleanest vessels to the port; and initiatives to retrofit port switcher locomotives with ultra low emitting GenSet engines.
Truckers interested in participating in the Truck Replacement Program grant program can visit the Truck Service Center in the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal in Elizabeth, NJ or visit the website in both English (www.replacemytruck.org) or Spanish (www.cambiamicamion.org).
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Founded in 1921, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey builds, operates, and maintains many of the most important transportation and trade infrastructure assets in the country. The agency’s network of aviation, ground, rail, and seaport facilities is among the busiest in the country, supports more than 550,000 regional jobs, and generates more than $23 billion in annual wages and $80 billion in annual economic activity. The Port Authority also owns and manages the 16-acre World Trade Center site, where construction crews are building the iconic One World Trade Center, which is now the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere. The Port Authority receives no tax revenue from either the State of New York or New Jersey or from the City of New York. The agency raises the necessary funds for the improvement, construction or acquisition of its facilities primarily on its own credit. For more information, please visit http://www.panynj.gov.
Port Official Talks Cyber Security on Capitol Hill
Port of Long Beach
Security Services director addresses U.S. House subcommittee
Federal officials should forge a comprehensive strategy to defend the nation’s ports from cyber attacks, Port of Long Beach Director of Security Services Randy Parsons told a U.S. House of Representatives committee in testimony earlier this month.
Parsons, appearing before the Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee of the Homeland Security Committee, said the maritime sector must adapt to a new threat environment that could include cyber events impacting key cogs in the nation’s economy.
“Protecting U.S. ports must be a core capability of our nation,” Parsons said. “Focusing on the development of strategic policies and guidelines is sorely needed. A roadmap that provides guidance but flexibility for industry decisions makes sense and will strengthen our national cyber security posture.”
The Port of Long Beach, the second busiest container port in the United States, is participating in October’s National Cyber Security Month.
View the Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee’s hearing here: