Monday, January 26, 2009

CPSIA FAQs - Volume 1

This is a call for questions: Please leave your question about CPSIA in the comments or send them via email to me at I will be researching the answers and devoting posts to them. Some questions will be easier to answer than others. And for certain questions, I won’t be able to answer them at all becuase I'm not a lawyer, legislator, or compliance officer with the CPSC. But many people have been looking for a place to direct family and friends with simple language and answers to common questions. I hope to provide that.

What is the CPSIA?
CPSIA stands for the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. It lowers lead limits and details restrictions and bans on phthalates for children’s products. It was passed by Congress in August 2008 and signed into law by the President.

Who does the CPSIA affect?
Everyone. If you buy or sell any child’s product. This includes thrift stores, libraries, donations, small crafters, large businesses, etc. It is broad, sweeping legislation.

Who’s going to enforce this?
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is responsible for enforcement of the law.

How does this affect resale (Good Will, consignment shops, etc.)?
All items sold retail OR resale for children are mandated to comply with the new lead limits. So, children’s items at thrift stores and consignment shops are included.

Why does Snopes say this is an urban legend?
Because the CPSC released a statement detailing the following: “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.”

Read that closely, they are not required to CERTIFY those products meet the lead limits. However, the statement a little further down reads: “… 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.”

So a seller of used goods doesn’t have to have a GCC (general conformity certificate) and they don’t’ need to do the lead testing, but they still have to comply with the new lead limits. Here is more on this subject.

Who is a manufacturer?
Anyone who manufactures, produces, or assembles a children’s product is a manufacturer. That is a definition from the CPSC. Please see my blog post for more detail:

What is considered a children’s product?
I’m going to give you the short answer here: A consumer product designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger. But there are many things that are questionable in terms of whether or not they fall into the cateogry of children's product.

Please see my blog post for more detail:

Please submit other questions! And look back in the BuggaBlog Archives for other important topics related to the CPSIA!


myminimocs said...

so much valuable info - thanks!

Tobie said...

Thank you for this and for addressing Snopes. I was really irritated to see that they only told a part of the story.

Artsiegirl said...

Another great post - thanks so much for simplifying this terrible law into the necessary facts!

Eileen said...

Please note that this law also allows states' Attorney Generals to enforce the law as well as the CPSA.