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Letter From Dianne Feinstein About the CPSIA

by Ian on January 30, 2009

So the law is going forward as written but they MAY make changes later after people have quit doing business because the risk of fines is too great. These congressmen keep talking about "guidelines" but as I have pointed out before, the guidelines from the CPA are prefaced with a note that the guidelines are just their OPINION and can be overridden at any time by the actual enforcement of the law. If the law didn't mandate minimum penalties of $100,000 and up to five years in prison, ignoring it in the hopes of future improvements might make sense. As it stands, if some do-good "save the children" activist finds something in your store that violates the law and anonymously reports you for the violation, you could very likely find yourself out of business.

According to this blog, people are being told not to close up shop because the CPA doesn't have the manpower to go after anyone except big companies that are obvious offenders for now. The problem is that the law has a whistleblower clause that allows anonymous reporting of possible violators which just might move you higher up on the list of people to check. You will remember that a news story out in California reported that people with portable lead testing devices were going into stores with news crews to check for violations and telling the store owners that they would be back on February 10th. If another store in town doesn't like you as competition, why not just turn you in? Even if you don't have any violations, the amount of time and money it will take to prove it could bankrupt you.

You might also need to consider the part of the country you live in. Right now, California is not a great place to be a Catholic or Mormon as various "tolerant" homosexual groups have targeted churches and businesses with vandalism and picketing. I bet that some of them would be quite happy to file numerous complaints against your store to try and put you out of business.

Finally, remember that everything that has been said by anyone about the law is either opinion or not on record. It's kind of hard to stand in court and tell the judge "but his office told me over the phone I didn't have to worry". Until the law is actually repealed or ammended, all these "guidelines" and words of comfort from congress only go as far as a judge will let them. I can't gamble my business on that.

Here is Senator Feinstein's letter:

Dear *******:

Thank you very much for your letter expressing concern about the implementation of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-314).  I understand the challenges facing certain businesses and organizations that must comply with the law's requirements and welcome the opportunity to respond to your concerns.

As you know, on August 14, 2008, the President signed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 into law.  This legislation will modernize and strengthen the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) to enable the agency to aggressively pursue its mission of protecting consumers and families through the oversight of more than 15,000 products sold in the United States.

Included in this important bill are requirements intended to limit the exposure of children to lead and phthalates in toys.  Specifically, beginning February 10, 2008, 180 days after the bill's enactment, children's products containing more than 600 parts per million of lead will be banned from production and sale. Within three years, toys containing more than 100 parts per million will also be prohibited.  The bill will also ban some phthalates from toys and childcare articles for children under the age of three. To help enforce these requirements, manufacturers will be required to have new children's products tested for these chemicals by a certified third-party.

I recognize that the compliance dates and certification requirements of this legislation may pose certain challenges to some businesses, organizations, and charities that are affected by the law.  You may be interested to learn that the CPSC has announced that sellers of used children's products, such as thrift stores, will not be required to certify that their products meet the new standards.

Additionally, retailers will not be required to test products that are already in their inventory.  However, they will not be allowed to sell those that exceed the lead and phthalate limits.  Therefore, the CPSC suggests that retailers should avoid selling products that are likely to have a high lead content, unless testing or other information would prove that their products are compliant.  This guidance is intended to allow retailers to sell children's products already in their inventory that would clearly not violate the new limits.  The CSPC continues to publish additional guidance to assist in this process.  For more detailed information, please visit the CPSC website at www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/cpsia.html.

Please know that I am following the CPSC's implementation of the standards closely.  I appreciate your input regarding this issue and will be sure to keep your thoughts in mind should the Senate take additional action regarding these matters.

Again, thank you for writing.  If you have any further questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-3841.  Best regards.
Sincerely yours,
Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

Further information about my position on issues of concern to California and the Nation are available at my website http://feinstein.senate.gov/public/.  You can also receive electronic e-mail updates by subscribing to my e-mail list at http://feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=ENewsletterSignup.Signup.

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