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.


  1. Isn't a baby sling PRIMARILY intended for use by a mother? I mean, isn't the purpose of it to help securely carry the baby while distributing the weight so as not to unduly strain the mother's back? It is like a nursing bra - WORN by the mother. Perhaps you could market it as an open-air diaper bag. If women choose to carry their babies in it instead, well...

  2. Every parent should be up in arms about the CPSIA. This law is going to impoverish the creative and educational environments of children. The immense amount of money wasted by this law will ultimately result in less safe products rather than more safe. And the irrational fears engendered by this law are just sick. Our children are being taught to fear everything they touch, every business and every business person. This, of course, includes their parents. Nor can their parents be trusted to protect them from much of anything.

    According to this law, only the government can protect them by massive certification and surveillance of business. And by frightening parents out of having garage sales.

    Also, if this is what passes as critical thinking in our highest law making bodies how can we expect our children to learn good critical thinking skills. Our congress should be an example of clear thinking, common sense, and leadership. Instead they are showing themselves to be the befuddled followers of the sad and irrational fears of the consumer groups. And they don’t seem to care as long as the mass of their constituents are unaware of what’s going on. In other words they care more about votes than they do your children.

    Most of us wouldn’t mind this law so much if it had a basis in reality. But it doesn’t. This law is premised on the assumption that trace amounts of lead in books pose real danger to children, that lead in the valve stems of bicycles is dangerous or that some lead in a component of a microscope for an eight year old is significantly dangerous, and on and on and on… This is patently ridiculous.

    If Congress cared more about children than votes they would fix this right now. If they don’t have time to rework it they could simply admit their mistake and repeal it.

    The road to hell is being paved by the pathological fears of consumer groups. And our Congress appears to be unable or unwilling to separate reality from fantasy. They need to regain the ability to evaluate evidence independently from the fear mongering of consumer groups or, FOR OUR CHILDRENS SAKE – not just businesseses, we need to replace them.


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