Thursday, January 29, 2009

Response from Dianne Feinstein regarding CPSIA

Upon sending the boilerplate letter offered by the Handmade Toy Alliance, here is the response I received back from Dianne Feinstein's office about the CPSIA:

Dear Mrs. W-:

Thank you very much for your letter expressing concern about the implementation of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-314). I understand the challenges facing certain businesses and organizations that must comply with the law's requirements and welcome the opportunity to respond to your concerns.

As you know, on August 14, 2008, the President signed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 into law. This legislation will modernize and strengthen the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) to enable the agency to aggressively pursue its mission of protecting consumers and families through the oversight of more than 15,000 products sold in the United States.

Included in this important bill are requirements intended to limit the exposure of children to lead and phthalates in toys. Specifically, beginning February 10, 2008, 180 days after the bill's enactment, children's products containing more than 600 parts per million of lead will be banned from production and sale. Within three years, toys containing more than 100 parts per million will also be prohibited. The bill will also ban some phthalates from toys and childcare articles for children under the age of three. To help enforce these requirements, manufacturers will be required to have new children's products tested for these chemicals by a certified third-party.

I recognize that the compliance dates and certification requirements of this legislation may pose certain challenges to some businesses, organizations, and charities that are affected by the law. You may be interested to learn that the CPSC has announced that sellers of used children's products, such as thrift stores, will not be required to certify that their products meet the new standards.

Additionally, retailers will not be required to test products that are already in their inventory. However, they will not be allowed to sell those that exceed the lead and phthalate limits. Therefore, the CPSC suggests that retailers should avoid selling products that are likely to have a high lead content, unless testing or other information would prove that their products are compliant. This guidance is intended to allow retailers to sell children's products already in their inventory that would clearly not violate the new limits. The CSPC continues to publish additional guidance to assist in this process. For more detailed information, please visit the CPSC website at

Please know that I am following the CPSC's implementation of the standards closely. I appreciate your input regarding this issue and will be sure to keep your thoughts in mind should the Senate take additional action regarding these matters.

Again, thank you for writing. If you have any further questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-3841.

Best regards.
Sincerely yours,
Dianne Feinstein United States Senator

It is interesting to note that sellers of used items (i.e. thrift stores) will not be affected. Additionally, though it is unclear how a retailer would make the call if their current inventory contains products that are "likely to have a high lead content," this aspect of the law would make it so retailers are not required to dump all of their current inventory. Still no reprieve for handmade or cottage industries...


Karen in Wichita said...

The last I heard, "won't be required to test" still means "will be liable for the full felony/fine consequences if they happen to sell something untested that turns out to be in violation."

A lot of resellers, and their insurance companies, are not terribly reassured by that.

On a possibly brighter note, I just dumped a bunch of clothes and toys on the DAV this afternoon, and they didn't have anything posted to indicate they'd changed their acceptance policies at all. I'm not sure whether that means they feel reassured, or whether it just means they still haven't heard of CPSIA.

Anonymous said...

So far, all "exemptions" are simply smokescreens. For exmaple, Waxman's proposed exemptions for books and clothing seem to forget that many books have staples--and most clothing has metal.

There is a tiny amount of lead in staples (10 ppm) but it will still have to be tested and certified.