CPSC Children's Products Safety Law

If you have children, work with children or work in retail, you have probably heard quite a bit about the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's (CPSC) new Children's Product Safety Law that will take effect on February 10, 2009.  This law is designed to monitor and drastically reduce the lead, or phthalates, in any children's products.  Eliminating lead is a good thing, so why is this new law causing such controversy and concern?

I spent some time reading a CPSC document entitled CPSC Clarifies Requirements of New Children's Product Safety Laws Taking Effect in February:  Guidance Intended for Resellers of Children's Products, Thrift and Consignment Stores in an attempt to understand the Children's Product Safety Law.  If the length of this document's title and the fact that clarification is already needed is any indication of the law, it is safe to say that there are some concerns and some confusion.

Thrift stores, such as VOA and The Salvation Army, as well as clothing resale stores could potentially have to stop selling children's clothing.  For parents who are already stretched thin monetarily, not having the option of purchasing used clothing is a huge issue.  While the law may have been written with lead laden toys and children's furniture in mind, the Children's Product Safety Law applies to all children's items. 

To quote the above CPSC clarifying document, "The new 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."  Confused?  I certainly am befuddled. 

It will be interesting to see how the law is applied come February 10th or to see if any further clarifications will be made by the CPSC.  If you have information on or would like to discuss the CPSC Children's Product Safety Law, we want to hear from you- please post your comments!