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FAQ About New Children's Products Safety Law

Will this new law protect kids?

Absolutely. The CPSIA, which is scheduled to go into effect February 10, 2009 is important victory for safe toy advocates. This law bans dangerous chemicals called phthalates that have been linked to serious health problems in children. To learn more about the dangers of phthalates, visit The Breast Cancer Fund.

The new law also contains much stricter requirements for allowable lead levels in children’s products. In addition, it mandates lead testing for most children's products. This will keep dangerous products off the shelves and away from our kids.

When Congress passed the law, they did not develop a specific plan to exclude handmade products made with toxic-free materials. The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) is responsible for addressing this in their rule-making process, which is going on right now.

Will thrift and consignment stores be able to sell children's clothes and toys after the new law goes into effect?

Yes! On January 8, 2008 the Consumer Products Safety Commission issued a press release in response to some pretty serious confusion about the new law's impact on resellers. Moms who depend on resellers, including thrift stores, consignment stores, and e-bay will still be able to buy and sell used toys and clothes. Resellers are not required to certify that the products they sell meet the new standard, which means the expense of testing will not be passed on to your favorite local resale shop.

However, these stores are still not allowed to sell dangerous products. They are forbidden from selling any product that has been recalled. The CPSC has set up a website so resellers can easily check a product's recall history. And since resellers are still liable if they sell anything with illegally high lead content, they have an incentive not to carry high-risk toys, like the wooden trains covered with lead paint from my childhood!

Click here to see the press release from the Consumer Products Safety Commission on resellers of children's products.

What about mom craftmakers? I have heard the new law will put them out of business?

The CPSC is still working on the details of this new law.

On January 30, 2009, the CPSC proposed a one-year delay in enforcement of the important new safety testing standards. The CPSC wanted more time to determine how to write rules that would keep toys safe, but not over-burden small businesses.

Unfortunately, this delay means many manufacturers, even the potentially dangerous ones, would be exempted from testing and safety certification requirements for another year.

To read the details of this stay-of-enforcement, click here.

On February 10, the CPSC published even more specific guidance for small businesses, crafters, resellers, and charities. This document answers a lot of common questions, provides a list of safe materials for crafters, and a useful chart for resellers. To download the guidance document, click here.

At Moms Rising, we are committed to supporting both safe toys and mom entrepreneurs and craftmakers. We know there are many moms who started businesses making children's products precisely because they wanted to increase availability of safe, kid-friendly toys.

The CPSC is currently considering several possible rules to help small businesses and craftmakers comply with the CPSIA, while still protecting our kids from dangerous products. For example:

1) The CPSC has proposed exempting products made with known safe materials from the testing requirements. These materials include natural fibers (for example, cotton, silk, and wool), wood, and some metals that have been shown to have very low or no lead content. The CPSC is also considering expanding this list.

2) The CPSC is considering allowing manufacturers of handcrafted products who use safe, toxic-free materials to certify their own products, instead of using third-party testing. To send a letter to the CPSC supporting this commonsense solution, click here.

We need your help to support commonsense, lawful exclusions from the CPSIA for craftmakers and small businesses that do not diminish children’s safety, and to protect the significant gains we have made in children’s product safety with passage this law.