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Notice

Proposed Collection; Comment Request-Testing and Recordkeeping Requirements for Carpets and Rugs

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AGENCY:

Consumer Product Safety Commission.

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ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), the Consumer Product Safety Commission requests comments on a proposed extension of approval, for a period of three years from the date of approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), of information collection requirements for manufacturers and importers of carpets and rugs. The collection of information is in regulations implementing the Standard for the Surface Flammability of Carpets and Rugs (16 CFR part 1630) and the Standard for the Surface Flammability of Small Carpets and Rugs (16 CFR part 1631). These regulations establish requirements for testing and recordkeeping for manufacturers and importers who furnish guaranties for products subject to the carpet flammability standards. The Commission will consider all comments received in response to this notice before requesting an extension of approval of this collection of information from the OMB.

DATES:

The Office of the Secretary must receive comments not later than February 3, 2006.

ADDRESSES:

Written comments should be captioned “Carpets and Rugs; Paperwork Reduction Act,” and sent by e-mail to cpsc-os@cpsc.gov. Written comments may also be sent to the Office of the Secretary by facsimile at (301) 504-0127, or by mail to the Office of the Secretary, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington, DC 20207, or delivered to the Office of the Secretary, Room 502, 4330 East-West Highway, Bethesda, Maryland 20814.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For information about the proposed collection of information call or write Linda L. Glatz, Management and Program Analyst, Office of Planning and Evaluation, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington, DC 20207; (301) 504-7671.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

A. The Standards

Carpets and rugs that have one dimension greater than six feet, a surface area greater than 24 square feet, and are manufactured for sale in or imported into the United States are subject to the Standard for the Surface Flammability of Carpets and Rugs (16 CFR part 1630). Carpets and rugs that have no dimension greater than six feet and a surface area not greater than 24 square feet are subject to the Standard for the Surface Flammability of Small Carpets and Rugs (16 CFR part 1631).

Both of these standards were issued under the Flammable Fabrics Act (FFA) (15 U.S.C. 1191 et seq.). Both standards require that products subject to their provisions must pass a flammability test that measures resistance to a small, timed ignition source. Small carpets and rugs that do not pass the flammability test comply with the standard for small carpets and rugs if they are permanently labeled with the statement that they fail the standard and should not be used near sources of ignition.

Section 8 of the FFA (15 U.S.C 1197) provides that a person who receives a guaranty in good faith that a product complies with an applicable flammability standard is not subject to criminal prosecution for a violation of the FFA resulting from the sale of any product covered by the guaranty. Section 8 of the FFA requires that a guaranty must be based on “reasonable and representative” tests. Many manufacturers and importers of carpets and rugs issue guaranties that the products they produce or import comply with the applicable standard. Regulations implementing the carpet flammability standards prescribe requirements for testing and recordkeeping by firms that issue guaranties. See 16 CFR part 1630, subpart B, and 16 CFR part 1631, subpart B. The Commission uses the information compiled and maintained by firms that issue these guaranties to help protect the public from risks of injury or death associated with carpet fires. More specifically, the information helps the Commission arrange corrective actions if any products covered by a guaranty fail to comply with the applicable standard in a manner that creates a substantial risk of injury or death to the public. The Commission also uses this information to determine whether the requisite testing was performed to support the guaranties.

The OMB approved the collection of information in the regulations under control number 3041-0017. OMB's most recent extension of approval expires on February 28, 2006. The Commission now proposes to request an extension of approval without change for the collection of information in the regulations.

B. Estimated Burden

The Commission staff estimates that the enforcement rules result in an industry expenditure of a total of 30,000 hours for testing and recordkeeping. The Commission staff estimates that 120 firms are subject to the information collection requirements because the firms have elected to issue a guaranty of compliance with the FFA. The number of tests that a firm issuing a guaranty of compliance would be required to perform each year varies, depending upon the number of carpet styles and the annual volume of production. The staff estimates that the average firm issuing a continuing guaranty under the FFA is required to conduct a maximum of 200 tests per year. The actual number of tests required by a given firm may vary from 1 to 200, depending upon the number of carpet styles and the annual production volume. For purposes of estimating the burden, the staff used the midpoint, 100 tests per year. The time required to conduct each test is estimated by the staff to be 21/2 hours plus the time required to establish and maintain the test record. The total annualized burden to respondents may be up to 12,000 tests per year at 2.5 hours per test or 30,000 hours. The estimated annualized cost to respondents may be up to $862,500, based on an hourly wage of $28.75 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 2005) × 30,000 hours. The estimated annual cost of the information and collection requirements to the Federal government is approximately $28,000. This sum includes three staff months expended for examination of the records required to be maintained.

C. Request for Comments

The Commission solicits written comments from all interested persons about the proposed collection of information. The Commission specifically solicits information relevant to the following topics:

—Whether the collection of information described above is necessary for the proper performance of the Commission's functions, including whether the information would have practical utility;

—Whether the estimated burden of the proposed collection of information is accurate;

—Whether the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected could be enhanced; and

—Whether the burden imposed by the collection of information could be minimized by use of automated, electronic or other technological collection techniques, or other forms of information technology.

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Dated: November 29, 2005.

Todd A. Stevenson,

Secretary, Consumer Product Safety Commission.

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[FR Doc. E5-6799 Filed 12-2-05; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6355-01-P