Sunday, October 11, 2009

CPSIA Update

I wish I could say that my silence the last few months indicated that things had gotten better with CPSIA, but unfortunately that is not the case.

With August 10, 2009 came another CPSIA deadline that seems more determined to put businesses out of business than to protect children. Now the manufacturers of all children's products (intended primarily for children 12 and under) must label their products with tracking labels that meet the standards of the CPSIA -- labels that provide information on where the item was made, when it was made, and how it has been determined to meet the new CPSC lead and phthalate requirements. At least that is my understanding of the tracking label requirements...I was one of many who decided to stop manufacturing children's products, rather than try to jump through the new legislative hoops. (If we had figured out this August requirement, the February 2010 testing requirement would have caused us to stop manufacturing in less than 6 months.)

For our shop, that has meant the end of manufacturing several new items: baby slings, an Alphabet Fun book, and Lapbook Kits. It has been a bittersweet end to several items that had posed no risk to children, but have now been impossible to manufacture at the scale we did, according to the requirements of the CPSIA. We have already ceased the manufacturing of all of these items, and hope to have our current stock sold off completely before the February 2010 deadline makes even the existing items illegal.

Additionally, the CPSC has announced a "Resale Roundup" that seems determined to strike fear into the hearts and minds of resellers of children's products. Since the vast majority of our store's sales are actually used items -- most of which are intended for children, we have been following the resell requirements of this toxic law as closely as those for manufacturers. With the fact that the law was retroactive, much of what was on our shelves in February 2009 had to be removed, and many items that have been brought in since then have not made it to our shelves. It is tragic to see the number of books and other educational items that can no longer be bought and sold safely -- even though, again, none of them were ever shown to be dangerous...But they are now illegal.

Many of us, in and out of business, wait anxiously for Common Sense to return to Congress, the CPSC, and the manufacturing and selling of children's products.