Tuesday, July 26, 2011

CPSIA - Amazon to Kids' Hat Companies: Prove You're Lead-free by August 7th

Hope your kids don't need hats.  Perhaps you are aware that absent Congressional action, the new 100 ppm lead standard will be imposed retroactively by August 14th.  The five Commissioners have requested that this provision be applied prospectively (they made this request in January 2010) yet Congress has done nothing about it.

As a matter of fact, now that you mention it, they haven't done anything about any of the problems under the CPSIA.  I guess as Rachel Weintraub suggests, more "discussion" is needed.

Anyhow, I received the below letter (excerpts are reproduced only) from a maker of children's hats.  Anyone out there ever heard of lead poisoning from a hat?  Me, either. Nevertheless this company is subject to the stupid rules of the CPSIA for reasons best explained by Henry Waxman, and are now being required to prove up the "safety" of their hats.

So how do you expect hat companies to respond to this kind of request?  Do you think they can afford the tests?  To employ the people to administer the tests, apply the tracking labels, maintain the records, deal with all the paper-pushing by their customers, pay for the lawyers, fill out the forms and so on?  I can think of several likely replies.  First, cut the product line.  Don't waste money on testing so many hats.  Second, simplify the product line.  Remember cute hats with lots of colors?  Thing of the past.  Better snap 'em up while you can.  Monochrome is the new rainbow.  Third, make hats for kids over 12 or for adults. Then you can sprinkle your little hats with lead to your heart's content.  No one will care.

Oh, I know, natural fibers and certain fabrics don't need to be tested.  Yes, but my customers don't care much for these niceties.  They want a piece of paper for the files.  If you think we test only when we have to, you are wrong.  That's the bare minimum.  Most tests are repeated or substantially exceeded, even beyond the absurd levels required by law.  This hat company was pretty depressed by the news delivered by Amazon.  Get used to it.

Or go pick up some hats right now.  If you have little kids, buy them in several sizes while you're at it.  No time like the present. . . .

Amazon Letter (excerpts):

Dear Amazon Vendor:

The Federal Government enacted the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (the “Act”) that, in addition to other requirements, prescribes strict limits on the content of lead and phthalates in products intended for children.

New stricter limits on lead in children’s products will go into effect on August 14, 2011. This message outlines the steps Amazon will require vendors to take to confirm that their products comply with the new stricter lead limits affecting children’s products.

Vendors are responsible for thoroughly familiarizing themselves with all the requirements of the Act and for tracking and complying with any regulations issued by Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Additional information on the Act is available on the CPSC website at www.cpsc.gov. Specific provisions of the Act discussed in this letter are for ease of reference only.

Actions Required: What you need to do

By July 31, 2011, each vendor must confirm and report to Amazon.com that all of your children’s products (i) in Amazon.com’s inventory, as reported to you in Vendor Central, and (ii) in transit or shipped to Amazon.com, will comply with applicable limits set forth in Column I.

Limit:  Lead 100 ppm

Effective Date of Limit per the Act:  August 14, 2011

Products shipped to Amazon must comply by:  July 31, 2011

Noncompliant products are subject to return to Vendor:  August 7, 2011
Step 1: Verify that your products are compliant with the lead content requirements going into effect on August 14, 2011.

Vendors are responsible for determining whether the products they sell on Amazon.com are compliant with the new lead requirements.


Anonymous said...

of course if you have any brims or top buttons on your hats those components need to be tested and complient as well as well even though they are inaccessible. The inaccessibility rulemaking states: "(i)
A children's product that is or contains a leadcontaining part which is enclosed, encased, or covered by fabric and passes the appropriate use and abuse tests on such covers, is inaccessible to a child unless the product or part of the product in one dimension is smaller than 5 centimeters." - no single component part in the fashion industry is smaller than 5 centimeters in all dimensions.

halojones-fan said...

I'm not trying to fire rock salt at your butt, but:

"By July 31, 2011, each vendor must confirm and report to Amazon.com that all of your children’s products (i) in Amazon.com’s inventory, as reported to you in Vendor Central, and (ii) in transit or shipped to Amazon.com, will comply with applicable limits set forth in Column I. "

Why does this need to be anything more than a one-page email saying "all of our products comply"? The letter doesn't specify the means of compliance.

Rick Woldenberg, Chairman - Learning Resources Inc. said...

You're right, of course, but almost no one accepts your say-so anymore. While Amazon may accept a representation in this particular case, it remains true that the compliance obligations must be maet. The Amazon letter says so. The tests will be requested in due course by Amazon, or by someone else. All roads lead to Rome.