Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act

In Current Events on February 11, 2009 at 2:11 am

UPDATED FEB. 11, 2008

photo courtesy of the Library of Congress

Click here for the February 11th feature:

Last summer there were a number of products for children made in China that were recalled due to high levels of lead in the toys; this resulted in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act that was passed by the Congress last summer. That legislation went into effect yesterday.  Over the last few months there have been many small businesses, libraries and thrift-store owners concerned about the extent of enforcement and unintended consequences of the new law.  So for the last month, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has been considering how to best implement the law while protecting both children and small businesses.  

Click here for the original report as it aired January 12th, 2009:

These features with Scott Wolfson of the CPSC, Jill Chuckas of the Handmade Toy Alliance (and owner of Crafty Baby) and EmilySheketoff of the American Library Association looks at the details and implications of this legislation.  

For a list of phone numbers for your members of Congress, click here.

  1. Thank you for the beginning of a well rounded panel and publishing an audio that is effective at giving an overview of some of the concerns.

  2. It’s frustrating that the CPSIA representative made it appear that it’s ok to sell used children’s product. What he left out was that if a used product is sold, and it’s tested and found to have lead, the seller is liable for the same 100k fine as the new product sellers. It’s leaving vital information out like this that is causing all of the misinformation on the web.

    How many second-hand dealers will make the decision not to risk the liability or won’t be able to get insurance because of this?

    We’re not hysterical, we’re upset but a law that is so far reaching, but doesn’t address the products already in the children’s homes. Instead of addressing specific items which may contain lead – vinyl products, crystals, etc., and instead attacking the entire industry, it’s caused the focus to be on survival of our businesses instead of the welfare of the children.

    There isn’t a single manufacturer or business owner who is in the business to harm children. We want to protect them and provide the best products available. We simply ask that you not attack the entire industry for the problems of a few products.

    Test the known issues and OUTLAW them.

    Princess Time Toys

    • Thank you for your comments. I share your concern about the far reaching aspects of this law. I too am alarmed at the unintended consequences (and frankly some of the intended consequences) of the way its being applied. I hope that citizens continue to make their concerns known and I hope that the CPSC listens.

      The CPSC representative did not mislead in his comments (though due to time constraints, they may not have been as complete as they could have been). It is NOT illegal to resell untested products (which he said); however, if they sell a product that proves to be “harmful” or is on an existing recall list, they will be held accountable (I said this in the piece). In principle, I believe that this is an important part of the law. Here is why. I do almost all my clothing, toy and book shopping in thrift stores. While there are certain products I’m not in the market for or don’t buy at resell shops, there are many economically stretched citizens and immigrants in my community who do. I have neighbors who have purchased cribs, high chairs, baby swings, baby bouncers, etc. through the local thrift store. Under the current laws, it is not illegal to resell products that have proven track records of failure and injury (they’ve been recalled). If one of these kids are injured or dies due to the negligence of the reseller, there should be some action taken against them. I see it as a small way of protecting the poor in our communities–but I don’t want it to put the business under either, as that would also negatively impact the poor and immigrant.

      Having said that (and being a small business owner myself), there are big problems with the way this law is being applied to so many other areas of production. There are similiar problems with the National Animal Identification System, many of the FCC laws, and other government initiated public safety programs. It seems like almost all of these programs end up hurting small business in someway. It is always easier from a management perspective to make sweeping rules instead of dealing with the problem products or people and I hope that my piece, with its flaws, motivates people to learn more and take action. I also hope that people don’t liquidate their current stock of products just because they don’t know what the CPSC is going to do.

      Thanks again for listening.


  3. Very nice post. Thank you!

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