Last year, there was widespread U.S. government recalls of products posing a danger to children. These included imported Chinese toys contaminated with lead and lead-based paints. Concerns from many child safety advocates sparked passage of more stringent U.S. child safety regulations scheduled to take effect in February 2009. (Read a related article on U.S. safety regulations and used children’s products here.)
The latest press release from the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Office of Information and Public Affairs brought much needed clarification and guidance for resellers of children’s clothing and products–primarily thrift stores and consignment shops. View a copy of the latest CPSC press release here.
Many American consumers, especially parents with young children, feared loosing the ability to legally purchase used children’s clothing after these new government regulations became effective February 10, 2009. When news of the new child safety regulations was first released, thrift store owners selling used children’s clothing and other sellers of used children’s products feared being forced out of business.
Concerned about the future of second-hand children’s clothing sales, I detailed information about the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 in an article published last week on Associated Content. The complete article can be viewed here.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission is tasked by law to interpret all U.S. consumer safety regulations. The CPSC underwent numerous rulemaking proposals intended to provide Americans with guidance on the new lead limits for retail children’s products. More information can be found at the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website here: www.cpsc.gov.
CPSC will not require thrift shop owners and others selling used children’s clothing and products to test their inventories of used children’s clothing and products for lead compliance. However, sellers of used children’s clothing and products will still be held liable for selling any children’s products that exceed new legal lead limits.
Additionally, the Consumer Product Safety Commission indicates that all manufacturers, importers and retailers of children’s products are expected to comply with the new child safety regulations. Beginning February 10, 2009, children’s products cannot be sold in the U.S. if they contain more than 600 parts per million (ppm) total lead.
Also, certain children’s products cannot be sold if they contain more than 0.1% of certain phthalates–chemicals used to make plastics more pliable. The total legally allowable lead limit in U.S. children’s products will drop to only 300 ppm on August 14, 2009.
These new child safety regulations require all manufacturers and importers of children’s products to certify their children’s products meet the latest U.S. government children’s safety regulations for lead-free compliance. This will require testing and certification of all non-exempt children’s products by an independent third-party laboratory.
In a previous December 23, 2008, memorandum from the Consumer Products Safety Commission posted here: http://www.cpsc.gov/library/foia/foia09/brief/leadlimits.pdf certain natural fibers were determined to be naturally lead free or within CPISA lead limit standards and thereby exempt from lead testing and certification requirements.
These exempt natural fibers included wool, cotton, silk, flax, linen and hemp as well as precious gemstones, certain semi-precious stones, wood, pearls, coral, fur, feathers, and untreated leather.
The CPSC recommends sellers of used children’s clothing and children’s products avoid reselling any products that may likely contain lead unless they have been tested or the seller has other information indicating the children’s products have less than the new allowed lead limit.
Resellers who sell used children’s products in violation of the newly established allowable lead limits and other safety standards will be in violation of the child safety law, and could face civil and/or criminal penalties.
Both resellers and parents buying used children’s items should be particularly cautious of the following children’s items that are known to have posed potential safety risks:
1. Any previously recalled children’s item–especially baby cribs and playpens
2. Children’s products known to possibly contained lead
3. Children’s jewelry and painted wood or metal toys
4. Flimsy made children’s toys that easily break into small parts
5. Children’s toys that lack the required age warnings
6. Dolls, stuffed animals, and other stuffed children’s toys that have buttons, eyes, noses, or other small parts that are not securely fastened, posing a potential choking hazard to young children
To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC’s hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC’s teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270, or visit CPSC’s web site at www.cpsc.gov/talk.html.
Consumer Products Safety Commission, http://www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/cpsia.html
The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, http://www.cpsc.gov/cpsia.pdf.
Consumer Products Safety Commission memorandum, December 23, 2008, http://www.cpsc.gov/library/foia/foia09/brief/leadlimits.pdf
Consumer Product Safety Commission Office of Information and Public Affairs Press Release, January 9, 2009. http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml09/09086.html
New U.S. Safety Regulations to Eliminate Sale of Used Children’s Products, January 7, 2009, http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1367599/new_us_safety_regulations_to_eliminate.