Tuesday, January 13, 2009

CSPIA Government Regulation Will Hit Hard

2/20/09: Leave it to Walter Olson, again! Great round up!

2/18/09: Overlawyered has been the go-to place for any and all recent information! Now that the New York Times (NYT) has finally weighed in with an incredible misinformation-filled editorial, many people have been pointing out their errors. Overlawyered is also first and foremost in collecting information about the CSPIA effect on older books and thrift shops or even yard sales as well as small business effects and motorcycles and dirtbikes.

1/30/09: From HSLDA, how they believe CSPIA will not be a big deal for resellers. Although they talk about 'knowingly' selling items that exceed the lead limit, I can't find any wording like that in the press release to which they refer. They are stepping up to try to help small businesses:

However, we are concerned about the effect that this legislation and the
proposed regulations will have on small family businesses. It appears that many
of these vital businesses could be forced to close due to the high costof
compliance with the CPSIA.
We will be meeting with the commissioners
of the Consumer Product Safety Commission on Wednesday, February 4.
CPSC comes out with another statement that initially sounds OK until you read the entire thing carefully. This letter now states that some certification testing will not be required--but look out:

However, all businesses, including, but not limited to, handmade toy and apparel makers, crafters and home-based small businesses, must still be sure that their products conform to all safety standards and similar requirements, including the lead and phthalates provisions of the CPSIA.

Handmade garment makers are cautioned to know whether the zippers, buttons and other fasteners they are using contain lead. Likewise, handmade toy manufacturers need to know whether their products, if using plastic or soft flexible vinyl, contain phthalates.

The stay of enforcement on testing and certification does not address thrift and second hand stores and small retailers because they are not required to test and certify products under the CPSIA. The products they sell, including those in
inventory on February 10, 2009, must not contain more than 600 ppm lead in any accessible part.
[emp added, 'accessible part' wording is new] The Commission is aware that it is difficult to know whether a product meets the lead standard without testing and has issued guidance for these companies that can be found on our web site.

Overlawyered (of course!) has more--especially talking about how the CPSC 'trusts' that State Attorneys General will also not enforce this requirement--though apparently they can if they want! Doesn't that make you feel great?

And more from Overlawyered about religious stores not receiving certification from many of their vendors. And even more from Overlawyered about youth motorcycles:

Yet another casualty of this destructive law: Honda has sent a letter to dealers announcing that it will withdraw youth motorcycles and ATVs from the U.S. market. It says lead figures as an intrinsic part of the alloys used in building the vehicles.

The irony, of course, is that of all the imaginable safety hazards posed by the existence of youth motorcycles and ATVs, the danger that kids will eat the darn things must rank at the very bottom.

Updated 1/19/09:

Overlawyered has much much more information and an editorial in Forbes about CSPIA.

An even newer post at Overlawyered with great link-love full of info! Good article at Christian Science Monitor, too.

End of Update 1/19/09

1/21/09: Local reseller trying to dump product before "National Bankruptcy Day?"

1/22/09: I have been anticipating Walter Olson's new op-ed in Forbes about CSPIA, and it's up now! Even though the issue is being ignored by the NY Times, Bloomberg has an article. Even more commentary at Overlawyered (where I found out about the articles).

1/26/09: Overlawyered again comes through with an updated link-fest HERE!

1/27/09: Joanne Jacobs touches on the topic here with a couple of links.

1/28/09: Another Overlwayered update here, here and here!

1/29/09: Here at Wired's blog GeekDad. It includes a link to this article by the publisher of Make and Craft magazines--the magazines on the leading edge of DIY. More from Overlawyered here. New York Post, too and again.

Etsy sellers, eBay craft sellers, in-home clothing designers/makers, people who make products for boutiques, or anyone else who may want to sell goods or produce things for children will all be negatively impacted by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). Craft sites that I frequent have been tracking this issue for a long time. The law targets items manufactured for children under 12 and it applies to every item even if made before the date the law takes effect, February 10th, 2009. Not to mention the rest of us who will not be able to become children's products entrepreneurs and now have to pay more for any item we do wish to buy for children.

Here the Wall Street Journal (finally) puts the spotlight on the CSPIA legislation.

The CPSIA bans lead (practically) and phthalates from children's products. Each product needs to be sent to a third party lab to tested for these items in order to obtain a certificate to sell them. The items must be tested as a completed unit (testing the same materials used to make it won't do), and no certification from the makers of the materials used in the product will be allowed to stand in place of the actual test. The test item itself is destroyed during testing and the tests are very expensive (could be thousands of dollars according to handmade-item, small-scale sellers that have checked it out). The manufacturer must implement a tracking system to ensure the manufactured product is the same, that the certification follows the product through testing to delivery to seller, and each individual product must be marked. The penalties are steep fines, and criminal charges. There are only four weeks until the law is implemented, and there are still items that have not been clarified and questions that lawyer-less people can't answer and experienced business men are grappling with.

Apparently the law may cover:

  • ATVs
  • hair accessories
  • bicycles
  • jewelry
  • board games
  • electronic games
  • craft kits
  • model kits
  • furniture
  • back packs
  • dance costumes
  • drugs (according to this)
  • CDs
  • DVDs
  • reusable packing (like the cases of CDs and DVDs)
  • cassettes
  • light bulbs (in microscopes as an example)
  • computer software (CDs and users manuals)
  • shoes (?)
  • bedding (?)
  • clothing (?)
  • baby items (no more baby clothes from the local church holiday fair)
  • musical instruments--including pianos
  • strollers (even the rivets)
  • stuffed animals
  • art supplies
  • pencils
  • ball point pens marketed to children
  • books--even libraries, magazines
  • thrift and consignment stores (which do not have to have a testing certificate, but are still iable for the penalties is they do sell something that violates the limits)
  • telescopes
  • school materials*
  • school science equipment*
  • they even have wording referring to yard sales(!!)
  • and I'm sure there are many more.
  • The same item in different colors (possibly different paint) needs to be tested separately.
*Some science/electronic/educational items may be allowed to contain lead as long as there are detailed instructions, the product is targeted to an age group that is reasonably old enough to take special instructions into account, and as long as there is not other option for the manufacturer to still have a working product except to include the lead. And they would still need to be tested.

On books (not yet exempted fro CSPIA, though they may be)

I keep waiting for the story to become front page news, but it is still mostly reported as an aside. I am surprised that I have not seen more outrage in the typical hot news spots. This is certainly an unjustified and additional cost applied to all manufacturers. But for those whose product lines are limited, especially for anyone selling one-of-a-kind items, the costs are truly prohibitive.

Could you imagine wanting a one-of-a-kind clothing item or toy for you child and then to have a multi-hundred dollar tax applied to it and, on top of that, have to pay to have two made? Many people have started calling February 10th National Bankruptcy Day (originated by the man in the videos below) for all of the cottage businesses that will have to shut their doors because the cost of complying is prohibitive.

Here is a business man, Rick Woldenberg of Learning Resources, in the educational industry talking at a CPSC panel regarding CSPI implementation:
Part 1 (testing costs)

Part 2 (effect on science items, products for disabled, existing inventory, same product for adults resold by this guy would need to be tested by him--like tape measures and aluminum foil, paper clips)

Part 3 (cannot test existing products so current inventory is a loss)

Here are some more links:
Washington Post
National Bankruptcy Day (collecting e-mails, stories, and testing quotes from affected parties)
Boing Boing
The Elmo Who Stole Christmas

1 comment:

Cynthia said...

CPSC Eases Tracking Rule: http://www.newsinferno.com/archives/10111#more-10111