Thursday, January 8, 2009

CPSC Just Released New Standards for Resale Shops Under the CPSIA

The following letter was just released by the CPSC to "fix" the law for resale shops under the CPSIA. This letter makes interpretation of the law even more confusing as it now appears that some pre-existing inventory is okay and some is not. It's not entirely clear how the distinction is meant to be made. Hmmm.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEJanuary 8, 2009Release #09-086

CPSC Recall Hotline: (800) 638-2772CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908

CPSC Clarifies Requirements of New Children’s Product Safety Laws Taking Effect in
FebruaryGuidance Intended for Resellers of Children’s Products, Thrift and Consignment Stores

WASHINGTON, D.C. - 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 February 10, 2009, 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 February 10, 2009 cannot be sold if they contain more that 0.1% 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 February 10, 2009, even if they were manufactured before that date. The total lead limit drops to 300 ppm on August 14, 2009.

The new law requires that domestic manufacturers and importers certify that children’s products made after February 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 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.

When the CPSIA was signed into law on August 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 intends to focus its enforcement efforts on products of greatest risk and largest exposure. While CPSC expects every company to comply fully with the new laws resellers should pay special attention to certain product categories. Among these are recalled children’s products, particularly 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 are easily breakable into small parts; toys that lack the required age warnings; and dolls and stuffed toys that have buttons, eyes, noses or other small parts that are not securely fastened and could present a choking hazard for young children.

The agency has underway a number of rulemaking proposals intended to provide guidance on the new lead limit requirements. Please visit the CPSC website at for more information.



Esther said...

What a mess. So resale shop owners are still liable even if they don't have to test. Who wants to risk $100,000 fine per incident or jail time with a felony? Resale shop owners can sell, but at their own risk. Not really the right solution, IMO.

jennifer said...

I really don't get their logic or lack of. So if things are used, existing inventory doesn't have to be tested and try to use common sense. But if existing inventory is in a store that sells unused merchandise it has to be tested. And by the way - if something you do sell ends up having lead, you will be fined. I really feel like I am living in some sort of bad dream reading this. I keep looking for logic with the CPSC and there just isn't any.

FayeMaloneDesigns said...

And they think this is making things "clear" What are they smoking?

littlegirlpearl said...

Glad I'm not alone in thinking that their statement was completely contradictory. They can sell their items, and don't have to test, but if the limit on lead is over 600 ppm, then they can't sell it? I guess they think resale shops have X-ray vision??? UGH!

Outside the Box Primitives said...

Hey, I am curious if any of this will affect me and how can I find out? I make one of a kind collectible art dolls, not intended for children at all, and that is clearly stated on my auction templates.

How can this affect me if they are not toys, but they are still a stuff "doll"?

This is how I make a living...I would drop dead if I couldn't sell my dolls to collectors.


Anonymous said...

If Amendment 14 of the US Constitution states the no State shall enforce any law which shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, then can one assume if the CPSC states one type of retail store may sell products without testing the items, then all retail stores may do the same? And taken one step further, if retail stores do not have to test prior inventory, then one must extrapolate that manufacturers would not have to test prior inventory as well.

Belroc said...

Outside the Box--
I'm a librarian and leather worker, and have the exact same problem you do in both fields. Under the new law, there is NO exemption for handmade items, or for small-scale production, and this new ruling only confuses whether libraries can a)keep our children's items on the shelves and b)continue to have booksales which include children's books and videos.

From what I gather, as a leatherworker, I constitute an original manufacturer. If I make a pair of shoes for a child I would need to test the finished product for total lead and phthalate content. So long as all of my shoes are made from components from the same batches, that one test would suffice. However, as soon as I run out of the original components and use one from a different production batch, I'd need to run a new test on the finished product--and using open-market, pre-tested components does not suffice, since the adult lead standards are different from the new ones for children. Sometimes I think Ayn Rand hit the nail on the head when she wrote Atlas Shrugged, because at $100-200 per test it's just a tad bit onerous. *insert sarcasm here* What are they trying to do, criminalize everyone?

As a librarian, I can say that the American Library Association is attempting to clarify how this applies to us because the General Counsel refused to exempt books and paper productsfrom the law. At this point, when the regulations go into effect we will either have to pull every book we have for children under 12 (including textbooks and everything else in school libraries) or simply not allow children under the age of 12 to enter. Either that, or we test every single book on our shelves...

Either way, and from both perspectives, my suggestion is simple: write to the US congress, write to the state congress, and make sure everyone you know does the exact same thing, because this will make nearly everyone who makes and sells anything into a criminal.

SaveKidsResale said...

The CPSC's press release is basically an attempt to imply that shop owners become bootleggers. No different really from Prohibition.

Liquor was illegal, government mostly looked the other way ignoring the speak easy's, but the cops could still arrest you and throw you in jail if the anti-liquor crowd made a stink to local law enforcement. Prohibition was repealed as we know - it took a little while.

Don't you find it curious that not one of our state or federal officials have gone on TV in person to address the issue?

Anonymous said...

Now newpapers, television news stations, and online news sources are saying resale stores are exempt. Apparently they are only reading up to the point that says resale stores don't have to test, and are completely ignoring the rest that says they can still face civil and/or criminal penalties for selling something that doesn't meet the new law. I find this VERY irresponsible because many people now believe the law doesn't apply to them. Won't they get a big shock when one of the testers shows up at their store with an XRF analyzer and starts testing their merchandise!

SaveKidsResale said...

The sad part about this, is there are MANY resale shops out there that are still unaware OR they too think they are exempt.

Then there are the franchise operations (think OUAC) which have claimed exemption (on their website) based upon the press release. (They probably need to do that to appease franchise owners).

When a law is as ambiguous as this one is and the spokesperson (since resigned) tells resellers to use their best judgment but if they break the law they will be prosecuted I certainly would like to see that law changed.

(see Rescue Marketing's take on the Vallese video)

It's one thing to knowingly operate outside the law and it's a whole other thing to not be told in no uncertain terms what the law means/implies, etc.

Anonymous said...

The CPSC is not the legislature and therefore has no legistlative power to rewrite (interpret) the law. From a legal standpoint the entire law must be enforced as written. There is nothing in the law "as written" that allows for exemptions. It is also unrealistic to put the liability of determining if a toy has lead or phthalates on the consumer. By exempting second hand shops the cost of testing becomes the consumer's responsibility and who has $4000 to check if that toy you just bought for $1 has lead in it. The law "as written" clearly places the liability on retailers and manufacturers. In the case of second hand stores the liability must be entirely placed on the retailer since the law cannot "legally" be applied retroactively to the manufacturer. The CPSC cannot make their claim of exemption. It's only a matter of time before someone finds a toy that isn't safe at a yard sale or thrift shop. Under this situation, the CPSC's interpretation clearly violates the intent of the law. The law is poorly written and needs to be amended. Only the legislature has the authority to add the required changes to the law. The CPSC needs to take a stand, be honest, and tell congress that their hands are tied. The CPSC are the "police" and the last time I checked cops don't get to pick and choose which laws they follow and which ones they don't.