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article imageOnly days left to object to CPSIA lead-test law

By Adriana Stuijt     Jan 18, 2009 in Business
There are days left to object to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which requires a huge range of imported and domestic products to undergo expensive lead-testing before they are allowed on the United States market.
Even the 'free laptop computer for every child' programme inside the US is being endangered: huge numbers of imported and domestic electronics targeting sales to children younger than twelve - computers, computer games, cellphone, electronic toys - will as the requirements are written now, also require lead-testing under this law, as will for instance other goods not immediately viewed as 'toys', such as the small BMX-bikes which were used by adult participants at the Beijing Olympics...
Objections can only be lodged by January 30. The law was passed in August last year, and goes into effect on February 10. see
Americans' opposition to the new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act is also growing fast, with a class-action law suit pending.
And some lawmakers who had previously voted with great enthusiasm for CPSIA in August, now are asking for an urgent hearing see in last-ditch attempts to save millions of American manufacturers from bankruptcy.
Books, electronics, bikes, teaching materials, tribal costumes...
The new Act, which goes into effect from February 10, is very wide-ranging, requiring expensive lead-testing of imported and domestic products which many people would not immediately think of as toys, such as the 24-inch BMX-bikes used at the Beijing Olympics, hundreds of millions of children's books, tons of teaching materials for schools, tribal costumes sold at Native-American Trust lands...
The protests are growing louder as people are still discovering an increasing number of US-made goods which will requiring costly testing under this new law from February 10. To join the class action law suit, access here
This hastily-drawn up bipartisan law was passed last August (424 votes to 1) to protect children from unsafe toys after last year’s widely publicized recalls mainly from China.
That lone opposing vote was from Rep. Ron Paul, MD, (R-Texas) the former Republican and Libertarian Party candidate for president.
However some lawmakers who voted for this Bill such as congressmen James Bachus of Florida, Anthony Weiner of New York and senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, have meanwhile contacted the CPSC, voicing public concern about the effect the law will have on millions of American businesses.
Leahy wants an urgent congressional hearing about how the law will impact domestic manufacturers. They also want exemptions from the harsh lead-testing requirements for domestic manufacturers - their own voters are increasingly warning them that many will face bankruptcy because of it.
Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York's ninth district now says the way the Act is written now, is creating 'intolerable confusion among US handmade toys' manufacturers,' He wrote to the chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety board that 'many companies will have to bear the costs of a product safety system that is not leading to improvements in children's safety..millions of dollars of safe US-made children's clothing and toys will go unsold' because of this Act...'
Alarmed by last year's recalls targeting millions of tainted toys mostly from mainland China, the House voted overwhelming to ban lead and other dangerous chemicals from products which could end up in children's mouths...
The legislation also toughened rules for testing children’s products and take steps to give more muscle to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which was criticized last year for its feeble handling of a flood of goods from China deemed hazardous to children.
Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), the ranking member of the committee that first passed the ban, was strongly in favor of it. "Children’s toys will be tested in the laboratory before they are tested by our children on the living room floors of America,” Barton said at the time.
What few consumers realize is this legislation affects more than only handmade toys produced in micro-businesses.
One top toy maker in Germany, known for its high-quality products which are widely used in the USA, has already decided to withdraw from the United States market because of the testing-requirements.
Millions of electronics from cellphones to computers and computerised games which target their products for children below the age of 12 will also have to start submitting certificates of compliance by lead-testing all their products before they can even be imported into the United States of America - or distributed to public outlets by US manufacturers after February 10.
And very few of the larger clothing manufacturers also seem to realise that this law also greatly affects them.
Of the ones who do know, most seem to think the law only only applies to children’s clothes.
Other than apparel the law includes diapers, blankets (housewares), books, videos, computer and electronic products, strollers, cribs, car seats, and anything humans come in contact with in their environment.
One of the problems with this law, its opponents say, is that Congress actually wrote the law -- and then forced the CPSC to implement it before the regulations were clearly written. These current regulations thus were not written by people inside the CPSC who are familiar with manufacturing. see
The legislation also gave more muscle to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which was criticized last year for its 'feeble handling' of a flood of goods from China deemed hazardous to children.
Following is the summary of the law, as placed on the CPSC website
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 than 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.
More about Cpsia, Objection deadline january, National bankruptcy day
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