CPSC Clarifies New Product Safety Requirements

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is reminding the public that in February 2009, new requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) take effect. Manufacturers, importers, and retailers are expected to comply with the new Congressionally-mandated laws.

Beginning Feb, 10, children's products cannot be sold if they contain more than 600 parts per million (ppm) total lead. Certain children's products manufactured on or after Feb. 10, 2009 cannot be sold if they contain more than 0.1 percent of certain specific phthalates or if they fail to meet new mandatory standards for toys.

Under the new law, children's products with more than 600 ppm total lead cannot lawfully be sold in the United States on or after Feb. 10, 2009, even if they were manufactured before that date. The total lead limit drops to 300 ppm on Aug. 14, 2009.

The new law requires that domestic manufacturers and importers certify that children's products made after Feb. 10 meet all the new safety standards and the lead ban. Sellers of used children's products, such as thrift stores and consignment stores, are not required to certify that those products meet the new lead limits, phthalates standard, or new toy standards.

The safety law does not require resellers to test children's products in inventory for compliance with the lead limit before they are sold. However, resellers cannot sell children's products that exceed the lead limit and therefore should avoid products that are likely to have lead content, unless they have testing or other information to indicate the products being sold have less than the new limit. Those resellers that do sell products in violation of the new limits could face civil and/or criminal penalties.

When CPSIA was signed into law on Aug. 14, 2008, it became unlawful to sell recalled products. All resellers should check the CPSC Web site for information on recalled products before taking into inventory or selling a product. The selling of recalled products also could carry civil and/or criminal penalties. The agency has underway a number of rulemaking proposals intended to provide guidance on the new lead limit requirements.

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