Your Questions: New Lead Testing for Children’s Products

Beginning Feb 10, 2009 the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act goes into law.

The new law will require all U.S. and foreign manufacturers and U.S. importers to hire a third party to test all products intended for children 12 and under for lead.

Lawmakers passed the bill after hundreds of recalls for everything from kids jewelry to cribs in 2008. Consumers demanded protection from foreign companies tainiting their children’s toys and their pet’s food.  The CPSIA of 2008 was Congress’ answer.

But wait a  minute! Small business owners everywhere caught word of the new law and cried foul.

What about resale and consignment shops, thrift stores and even garage sales?  They take in used toys and car seats.  If they are required to send every item out for lead testing, they would never make any money.  No one would sell used children’s products at all; and a lot of families on a budget count on second hand items.

We did Monday’s “Ask Amy” segment on that specific angle. You can read it here.

Even more questions followed. First from Linda:

“I’ve been following this story and have a question regarding this new law.  Does this law apply to those of us who make and sell children’s craft items?”

Then Rick…

“After reading your article about the new law and resellers, I have another question.  As antique dealers, how do we deal with antique toys?  Will a disclaimer stating they are for collectors and not intended for use by children suffice?  Lead soldiers are popular collectibles, but what about metal cars, trucks and other toys that are also sought after in the market?  Our toy buyers are not generally shopping for gifts for little folks, but there is always the chance one the toys will fall prey to a curious tyke.”


I called the CPSC again. Spokesman Patty Davis called me this morning.

“CPSC is keenly aware of this problem,” Davis said. “Because of the language of the law , it may not be an issue we can address. These folks need to start preparing to comply with the law.”

Then she said while CPSC considers how to deal with these businesses and craftsmen, they want to hear from you.  The CPSC will begin accepting comments from the public on this issue soon.  The comment period will last through January 30th, 2009.

At that time, the  CPSC will use your comments to interpret the new law and make exemptions. For example, someone has already proposed exempting materials like untreated cottons, wood and linen from the lead testing requirement. CPSC will consider that.

Patty Davis says CPSC is looking for specific suggestins, not just complaints.  How can the Commission make the law work for you and/ or your business while still protecting children from the dangers of lead?

So here’s how you complain. Click this link. Under the “What’s New” section, you’ll see this wording:

Children’s Products Containing Lead: Notice of Proposed Procedures and Requirements for a Commission Determination or Exclusion: Unpublished Federal Register Notice (pdf) and Briefing Package (pdf)

Right now, it says the Federal Register is “Unpublished.” It will be “Published” any day now. When it is, CPSC will open the Public Comment period and provide a link online where you can send your comments. Check back frequently and be heard.



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