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International Sleep Products Association Letter to Chairman Issa - January 11, 2011

International Sleep Products Association Letter to Chairman Issa - January 11, 2011

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Published by CREW
In December 2010, Representative Darrell Issa, Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to over 150 companies, trade groups, and research organizations asking them to identify federal regulations that adversely affect job growth. This letter is one of the many responses that CREW has collected and posted for public review.
In December 2010, Representative Darrell Issa, Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to over 150 companies, trade groups, and research organizations asking them to identify federal regulations that adversely affect job growth. This letter is one of the many responses that CREW has collected and posted for public review.

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Published by: CREW on Jan 28, 2011
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501 Wythe Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314-1917
(703) 683-8371
Fax (703) 683-4503www.sleepproducts.org
January 11, 2011The Honorable Darrell IssaChairCommittee on Oversight and Government Reform2157 Rayburn House Office BuildingWashington, DC 20515Dear Chairman Issa:Thank you for your letter dated December 29, 2010 and the opportunity to provide input onareas where government regulation is harming U.S. mattress manufacturers and limiting jobgrowth in this industry.The International Sleep Products Association (ISPA) represents mattress manufacturers andtheir suppliers. Of particular concern to our industry are several costly and unnecessaryregulations administered by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), summarizedbelow. The mattress industry is nearly 97% composed of small businesses. Therefore, evenincremental increases in costs weigh heavily on our members.The mattress industry supports practical regulations that protect consumers, improve safety,and allow manufacturers to make a product that consumers will find safe, comfortable andaffordable. However, we do not support superfluous requirements that impose costs and otherregulatory burdens, and provide no discernable safety benefit.We urge your committee to consider the impact of the following regulations on mattressmanufacturers.The Consumer Product Safety Improvement ActMany requirements in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) initially wereintended to target safety issues related to children’s toys, infant products and the like. Forexample, in reaction to incidents involving lead in children’s toys, Congress decided to requirethat these products be tested for lead content by labs accredited by the CPSC.The CPSIA as enacted, however, set numerous new mandates that have imposed addedcosts on manufacturers of “general purpose” products like mattresses that are used by bothadults and children. As a consequence, the CPSC’s new regulations implementing theaccredited lab requirements treat those adult-size mattresses that are marketed primarily toconsumers 12 and under as a “children’s product.” In practical terms, this means that for amattress manufacturer to comply with the CPSC’s two mattress flammability standards, all firetesting related to these “children’s mattresses” now must be conducted by accredited labs.Until this point, these tests were performed either “in house” or by third parties that were notaccredited by CPSC at the time.
Chairman Issa1/11/11Page 2
Unlike the incidents of excessive levels of lead in toys that first motivated Congress tocommence work on the CPSIA, the mattress industry has a laudable reputation for meeting itsobligations under the CPSC’s flammability standards. Furthermore, since the first of thesestandards went into effect in the mid-1970s, the incidence of mattress fires, deaths, and injuryand property damage, have dropped substantially.Nevertheless, given the strict manner in which the CPSC has applied its new CPSIA authority,a number of mattress manufacturers have had to retest prototypes they use to make adult-sizemattresses that are intended primarily for use by consumers 12 and under. The costs of theseflammability tests can range from to $1150 to $2650 per mattress prototype. Depending onthe size and product range of a given producer, a typical mattress manufacturer will need toretest between 12 and 42 prototypes to meet this new arbitrary CPSIA rule.While this rule will certainly impose new costs on manufacturers already strained by therecession, it will not improve safety. Instead, the manufacturers will simply repeat testsalready conducted. This is a clear example of government action that has forced mattressmanufacturers to incur additional costs and regulatory burdens with no discernable safetybenefits to the consumer.In implementing other CPSIA provisions, the CPSC has set or proposed further testing,recordkeeping and labeling requirements on mattress manufacturers that will impose othercostly redundancies on the current product safety regime for mattresses, once again withoutoffering any discernable improvement in consumer safety. For example, the CPSC has issueda proposed rule titled “Testing and Labeling Pertaining to Product Certification.”
The twoflammability standards that apply to mattresses already include rigorous testing, quality control,documentation, recordkeeping, labeling and certification requirements. Furthermore, as notedabove, the record shows that the incidence and consequences of residential mattress fireshave fallen substantially since the first of these standards was promulgated in the 1970s.Nevertheless, the CPSC has proposed additional testing for these products in this rule. Onceagain, this regulation, if adopted, would increase mattress manufacturers’ costs and regulatoryburdens without improving safety.Likewise, the CPSC interprets the CPSIA to require that all mattresses be accompanied by a“certificate of conformity,” which must contain manufacturer, testing and contact information.Like the other examples discussed above, this rule imposes added regulatory obligations andassociated costs on the manufacturer without improving product safety. Virtually all of theinformation required to be on the certificate is already contained on a label that the CPSC hasrequired on all mattresses since well before the CPSIA took effect. Furthermore, the certificateserves no safety purpose. A manufacturer must furnish the certificate to retailers anddistributors, but those parties have no obligation to read or retain it. Likewise, themanufacturer must keep the certificate on file and make it available to the CPSC on request,but this new document merely references information already documented elsewhere by themanufacturer.Other CPSIA-mandated requirements include a product safety database that will list productsafety complaints that consumers send to the CPSC. While the mattress industry does not
75 FR 28336.
Chairman Issa1/11/11Page 3
oppose such a database in principle, the Commission has not implemented sufficientprecautions to assure that the information contained in the database is accurate. Instead, theCPSC’s system may allow the posting of erroneous and possibly fraudulent data that couldharm a company’s reputation or result in costly litigation. The system is also vulnerable tomanipulation by competitors or others submitting false or inaccurate data to the CPSC for anti-competitive or political reasons. Neither consumers nor industry are well served by inaccurateinformation being posted on the CPSC’s database. Additional precautions are needed toaddress these risks.Each of these examples of wasteful, superfluous or ill-considered regulations has resulted fromthe CPSC’s implementation of the CPSIA. The mattress industry is far from unique in beinghurt by these new rules. In combination, these requirements have imposed significant newcosts on manufacturers during this current recession, impairing our industry’s ability to recoverfrom the poor economy, to expand, and to increase our labor force.ISPA urges your Committee to use its oversight and legislative authority to encourage and(when needed) require the CPSC to undertake more balanced and nuanced rulemakings inwhich the agency may use its discretion to promulgate rules that take into account existingregulatory mechanisms that are working efficiently. We also think it is imperative that CPSChave the discretion to make reasoned exceptions to new statutory requirements that wouldotherwise impose wasteful costs without improving consumer safety.Mattress Flammability StandardsIn addition to the CPSIA-related issues identified above, the mattress industry also believesthat its products are subject to duplicative flammability standards that impose additional andunnecessary costs and regulatory burdens on mattress manufacturers. As a result, ISPA hasrequested that the CPSC rescind a 35-year old cigarette test standard that is now outdatedand redundant in light of a new mattress flammability standard that took effect three years ago.Furthermore, the way that cigarettes burn has changed substantially in recent years, makingthe old standard even less relevant to today’s real world safety risks. Rather than rescind theredundant standard, however, the Commission has proposed to amend the old requirementsto make them even more stringent.By way of background, all new mattresses at present must meet the following flammabilitystandards:
16 CFR Part 1632: Promulgated in the mid-1970s, this standard requires that a mattressresist ignition from a smoldering cigarette heat source. It requires that a mattressprototype be exposed to at least 18 ignited cigarettes that are unfiltered and meetspecified dimension and tobacco density requirements.
16 CFR Part 1633: This standard, which became effective in 2007, requires that amattress resist ignition from an open-flame heat source (such as a match, cigarettelighter or a candle). This test is conducted by exposing a mattress prototype to a largeignited burner that is intended to represent the type of fire that occurs when a pillow orcomforter has been ignited by a candle or a child playing with matches.Two years before Part 1633 became effective, ISPA, on behalf of the mattress industry,requested that the CPSC rescind the old Part 1632 standard because the new open-flame

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