http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/266896

Death knell for garment industry from Jan 10 CPSIA lead-test law

Posted Feb 9, 2009 by Adriana Stuijt
The Children's Wear Coalition warns that tomorrow's February 10 deadline to comply with the new lead-testing law is going to cost 5,000 lost jobs in New York City alone. Is the CPSIA lead-test law the final death-knell for the ailing US garment industry?
Both the States of New York and South Carolina are expected to face massive job losses because of this Bill from January 10, when it takes effect. see the law:
The Children's Wear Coalition said in its media statement that 'without urgent action by Congress, the runaway rules of the Consumer Product Safety Information Act will force many manufacturers out of business from tomorrow. The law is retroactive and importantly, also applies to exporters and US manufacturers, as well as imported foreign clothing for children.
The Coalition, which represents 130 small manufacturers in New York, said it fully supports the spirit of the new lead standards, but its broad mandate is 'reckless and unrealistic'.
Retroactive law applies to stock on shelves:
The new federal rules, which implement new lead-contents standards set by Congress in the Consumer Product Safety Improve Act (CPSIA) that was passed last year, would retroactively apply to children’s clothing already on store shelves and in the inventory pipeline, forcing manufacturers to take back upwards of $500 million in returns of safe products.
"Expected revenue losses will be up to $500 million in revenue in New York City alone, according to the Coalition for Safe and Affordable Childrenswear.
The only way to stop this catastrophe is by Congress intervening urgently. “Congress has one more day to save thousands of jobs in New York and tens of thousands of jobs in America by demanding the Consumer Product Safety Commission change the lead ruling,” said Cory Silverstein, Executive President of Kids Headquarters and a Member of the Coalition Executive Committee.
Democrats refuse to intervene by failing to support Relief bill:
“If New York Members of Congress don’t intervene in the 11th hour, thousands of their constituents will be out of work and their districts will lose hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.”
Another course of action could be inserting Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-SC) legislation into the stimulus plan. The bill, that costs nothing, calls for a delay in the rules to give the CPSC the time it needs to develop a balanced, sensible approach to testing and certifying children’s clothing and eliminating the retroactive implementation of the regulation by making the compliance deadline for the new standards a “manufactured by” date, not a “sell-by” date. Thus far, the bill has received no support from Democrats and its leadership. see our previous story
“It’s a shame that they would support a stimulus plan that costs almost a trillion dollars, yet not want to insert language that would save tens of thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars and cost the taxpayer nothing,” Silverstein said. “At a time when our economy is on life support, Members of Congress should re-consider their actions.”
A ruling by the Consumer Product Safety Commission delayed some testing requirements for a year and said retailers should act in good faith that their products are safe. This stay – deemed unacceptable by the coalition - has created mass confusion among retailers, who are erring on the side of caution and will return untested products to manufacturers.
“If these totally unreasonable and unrealistic regulations go into effect on February 10th, they will have a devastating impact on a critical small business sector in New York at the worst possible time, when retail sales are plummeting and our economy is losing jobs across the board,” said Steve Levy, Director of Operations of Star Ride Kids and member of the coalition’s executive committee.
“Come February 10, we expect to receive hundreds of boxes of clothing from our retailers who are erring on the side of caution and returning untested clothing. And if the Commission or Congress doesn’t act, small businesses will go bankrupt and thousands of employees will be laid off.”
The Coalition, which represents 130 small manufacturers in New York, said it fully supports the spirit of the new lead standards, but a broad mandate is reckless and unrealistic.
“Our Coalition is committed to producing clothing that is safe and healthy for children. We are parents as well as business people, and we take our responsibilities to our consumers extremely seriously,” said Silverstein.
“But you can’t just take an ax to such a broad issue. Instead, the Commission must evaluate each industry.”