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CPSC Clarifies Requirements of Product Safety Act

Jan 9, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP

In advance of the implementation of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) next month, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released a clarification of the Act’s requirements regarding new children’s product safety laws.  The Act takes effect February 10, 2009.

In its release, the CPSC says that manufacturers, importers, and retailers are expected to comply with the new Congressionally mandated laws and that, effective February 10th, it will be illegal to sell children’s products containing lead in amounts over 600 parts per million (ppm) total lead.  Also, under the new law, it will be illegal to sell any children’s product containing more than 600 ppm total lead on or after February 10, 2009, even if the product was manufactured prior.  Another change will take effect on August 14, 2009 when the total lead limit will drop to 300 ppm, the CPSC noted.

Some children’s products manufactured on or after February 10, 2009 cannot be sold if they contain more than 0.1% of certain specific phthalates or if they fail to meet new mandatory toy standards.  Under the new Act, three phthalates have been permanently banned and three others, temporarily banned pending additional testing.

According to the Act, all domestic manufacturers and importers must certify that children’s products made after February 10 meet all the new safety standards as well as the revised lead ban.  Those who sell used children’s products—thrift stores and consignment stores, for example—are exempt from the requirement and do not have to certify that its products meet the new lead limits, the phthalates standard, or any other new toy standards, said the CPSC.

And while the new law does not require resellers to test children’s products in inventory for compliance with the lead limit before the products are sold, such resellers are prohibited from selling children’s products that exceed the lead limit and are urged to avoid products likely to have lead content, unless they are in possession of testing or other information to confirm the products contain lead in amounts within the new limit.  Any reseller that sells products that violate the new limits is subject to civil and/or criminal penalties, warned the CPSC.
Of note, when the CPSIA was signed into law on August 14, 2008, it became illegal to sell recalled products.  The CPSC is also alerting all resellers to routinely check its Website—www.cpsc.gov—for information on recalled products before taking products into inventory or before attempting to sell a product.  Selling recalled products, warns the CPSC, carries civil and/or criminal penalties.

Finally, the CPSC alerts resellers to pay particular attention to certain product categories, but notes that every company is expected to fully comply with the new laws.  Specific recalled children’s products include cribs and play yards; children’s products that may contain lead, such as children’s jewelry and painted wooden or metal toys; flimsily made toys that can be easily broken into small parts; toys that lack required age warnings; and dolls and stuffed toys adorned with buttons, eyes, noses, or other small parts not securely fastened, which could present a choking hazard for young children.

The CPSC said it is in the process of some rulemaking proposals intended to provide guidance on the new lead limit requirements, which will be posted on its Website.


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