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Analysis of the New Retailer's Guide for the CPSIA

by Ian on May 7, 2009

A new guide has been released by the Consumer Product Safety Commission that is intended to help retailers figure out what they can carry without getting fined out of business or sent to jail.

The good news:

  • The guide contains nice tables and illustrations as well as summaries of the law which make it much easier to figure out the law.
  • The guide APPEARS to say that small businesses will be given a little more leeway with violations:

    The Commission’s response would also take into account the fact that you may be a small business.

  • This is nice to hear. Hopefully state AGs will take it to heart:

    CPSC’s goal is to help you to avoid future violations and protect your customers, not to put you out of business.

  • The determination of what constitutes an item for kids 12 and under seems to be rational. This should put miniature gamers at ease. I know that they have been debating the legality of selling metal miniatures.

    Is the product commonly recognized by consumers as being intended for use by a child 12 years of age or younger?

    Is there any packaging, labeling, advertising or other material that might indicate the manufacturer’s intention as to the appropriate age grading of the product?

  • Dyed textiles don't require testing, but clothing that contains any metal does.
  • The phthalates ban focus will be on:

    Bath toys, “play” books and other plastic toys (especially those made of polyvinyl chloride) that are intended for young children and can be put in the mouth.

    Soft plastic infant and baby products that can be easily grasped.

The bad news:

  • Nothing appears to have actually changed concerning what is safe to carry.
  • People have been speculating that yard sales might be included in the law and other people dismissed that as ridiculous. Guess what? Your garage sale now is regulated by the government. Can you imagine what the Founding Fathers would have said about the federal government regulating yard sales? This is insane!

    This handbook will help sellers of used products identify types of potentially hazardous products that could harm children or others. CPSC’s laws and regulations apply to anyone who sells or distributes consumer products. This includes thrift stores, consignment stores, charities, and individuals holding yard sales and flea markets.

  • Jewelry that contains metal other than precious metals, gemstones (without lead), pearls or surgical steel is exempt. Unfortunately, most steel used in jewelry is NOT surgical steel grade so testing on most items will still be required.
  • The idiocy concerning books printed before 1985 is still in force.
  • Educational materials are exempt (maybe)?:

    Certain educational materials, such as chemistry sets

Overall, I think this guide is most beneficial to those who are getting looked at like crazy people for fighting the law. The CPSC has put in bullet points the ridiculous requirements of the law (Yard Sales?!!!!) for everyone to see. I recommend that anyone who is fighting the law carry a highlighted copy of this guide with them to use in discussions about the law's ridiculousness.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Tom May 8, 2009 at 3:13 pm

While the government ought to keep us safe (AKA, National Defense) this goes well beyond the obscene in my view. And why would it be pushed off on retailers? Shouldn’t government stop this from entering our country or being manufactured inside our borders? Obviously they know how difficult that would be so rather than tackle it they push it off on those who make this country tick. It seems to me to be nothing more than yet another mechanism for harassing the constituency… you know, the folks who pay the salaries of the government. When will we wake up and fire them all? Crikey.

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