Congress directs CPSC to review standard for children`s sleepwear
Congress has directed the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to propose for public comment a revocation of the amendments to the standards for flammability of children`s sleepwear. Congress has also instructed the General Accounting Office (GAO) to review data relating to burns from the ignition of children`s sleepwear from small open flames from July 1997 through January 1, 1999 and to report its findings by April 1, 1999. Based on the GAO findings and other information available to the commission, the CPSC must decide by no later than July 1, 1999, whether to revoke, maintain, or modify the amendments issued on September 1996 regarding children`s sleepwear flammability.
The CPSC implemented the first fire safety standard for children`s sleepwear under the Flammable Fabrics Act in 1972. By 1975, it was mandatory that all children`s sleepwear sizes 0-14 be flame retardant. In 1996, the CPSC voted to reverse this standard to permit the sale of untreated sleepwear for infants nine months and younger and tight-fitting cotton sleepwear for older children. Manufacturers were required under this new arrangement to launch an extensive educational campaign for consumers, change the size required to constitute a tight-fitting garment, and use cautionary hang tags and neck labels to identify flame retardant sleepwear.
“The apparel industry has been dragging their feet with no industrywide education campaigns forthcoming during the past two years,” notes Anthony O`Neill, chairman of the Congressional Fire Services National Advisory Committee. “They have asked for an extension on resizing sleepwear until 1999, and to date have failed to provide identifying hang tags. I don`t think we should wait for children to burn or get injured before we decide to go back to a 25-year-old proven standard.”
The CFSI`s National Advisory Committee voted unanimously to support the advancement of the Children`s Sleepwear Safety Act. The CFSI will continue to work closely with government agencies and other groups to restore the 1972 standard. n