CPSIA: Update

by Erin on January 19, 2009

Have you all been following the CPSIA story? I mentioned it briefly once before, but there have been some ongoing developments.

In the last few days, the CPSC regulators have issued some vague statements that SEEM to say that resellers (consignment stores and thrift stores) won't have to test items for resale, although they are still subject to penalties if they sell items that test positive for lead, and that children's books are not subject to the new law unless they have "play value" — like vinyl bath books. But check out this letter which calls for regulators to "hit the pause button" until all of this can be worked out … instead of having the law go into effect February 10.

However, this still doesn't take into account small Etsy-type sellers of children's clothes and toys, which is disturbing. The best overview of the problem and what you can do to help is still at Fashion Incubator. (The latest post is here.) This Etsy post is also a good place to start.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Angel - Having a Nemesis January 19, 2009 at 9:41 am

I really don’t think that the regulators even THOUGHT about small handmade goods when this was drafted. It worries me that such regulations can be drafted that will essentially put thousands of people out of business for having the audacity to make their own wares with their hands.”Sorry. We know you are a potter, but frankly….your talents would be put to better use as a cashier at the Wal-Mart. They’ve recently debuted their Home Decoration line, what with the market suddenly opening up, and have a job fair coming up.”

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Alicia January 19, 2009 at 12:23 pm

Thank you for raising awareness of this, Erin. While I’m one of the Etsy sellers not impacted by this (yet), I know many, many who are. What’s utterly ridiculous is that this law got started because of all the untested cheap toys imported from overseas and slipping under the regulations we already had in place. Yet those hurt most are those who started their businesses to offer an alternative to that mass-produced junk. A law intended to give kids safe toys to play with is, instead, giving them LESS options. Go figure.

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Marjie January 19, 2009 at 2:53 pm

There was an article in my local paper today, where the reporter was interviewing owners of local consignment shops. They all agree that this law will put a dead stop to reselling children’s clothing, because while they don’t have to “test” the items, they do have to “be certain” that they meet the new standards for lead content. The consensus here is that there will no longer be consignment for children’s clothing, and everything they have will have to be taken to the landfill. This doesn’t even mention that some, if not all, of these places will be driven out of business without the business of parents buying for their children!

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Marylou January 19, 2009 at 7:36 pm

There is alot of coverage of this issue at Overlawyered.comhttp://overlawyered.com/2009/01/cpsia-continued/It is really unfortunate that this law was passed without the legislators thinking through the consequences.

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Kathleen January 20, 2009 at 5:32 am

Falvey’s opinion (the pdf linked to), makes it clear that books *primarily intended* for children, must comply with the law’s lead limits. Books with “play value” must comply with lead and phthalate restrictions. It is only “ordinary” books, meaning those not intended primarily for children which are exempt. The letter the American Library Association sent to Congress raises the spectre of libraries across the country either refusing admittance to all children 12 and younger or to pull all children’s items from the stacks. And that’s just books. Most of my designers are going out of business. Almost nobody knows about it or thinks it’s no big deal or won’t affect them. We’re not calling it National Bankruptcy Day for nothing. Our economy is enough trouble, I just don’t understand why we have to *create* more problems at a time when we can least afford it.Btw, thanks Erin for telling everyone about this!

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oracle January 20, 2009 at 7:20 am

So glad you’re covering this stuff, Erin. So important on so many fronts.

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Erin January 20, 2009 at 7:22 am

Ah, it’s not me. Kathleen is the person who is really bringing this to people’s attention!

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oracle January 21, 2009 at 4:45 am

Well, that’s what I get for not reading carefully.Good for both of you.

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Linda January 22, 2009 at 3:31 am

Glad you posted about this. This is another one of those pieces of legislation that the politico’s develop but the bureucrats implement and no one discussed it fully before pushing it through. I work for a NPO that runs thrift stores and we are caught between the rock and hard place-don’t have to test but work not to sell it, how does one know til they test it! Craziness at its best.

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Linda January 22, 2009 at 3:31 am

Me again. Kudos to Kathleen at Fashion Incubator for her ongoing posting of this!

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Jennifer Tonetti-Spellman February 9, 2009 at 4:23 pm

Not sure if you heard the latest, but there has been a 1 year stay of execution put on the law (so we are safe for another year) which allows time for them to review potential changes to the law. As a small business owner of BabyHipWear, the only clothing company for children with hip dysplasia, this law would have FOR SURE shut me down. I am glad to at least be able to breathe a little easier (for now). -Jennifer Tonetti-SpellmanOwner/President BabyHipWearwww.babyhipwear.com

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Heather February 24, 2009 at 11:24 pm

Here is something to brighten your day –Dr. Seuss Meets the CPSIA

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