CPSC issues temporary testing stay

abacusThe Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has just issued a temporary stay on the stringent testing and certification requirements for lead content in children’s products.

Temporary Relief 

“The stay of enforcement provides some temporary, limited relief to the crafters, children’s garment manufacturers and toy makers who had been subject to the testing and certification required under the CPSIA. These businesses will not need to issue certificates based on testing of their products until additional decisions are issued by the Commission. 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. ”

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml09/09115.html

Stringent Testing on Hold 

Under this stay, publishers and manufacturers won’t need to test any products or components that are certain not to contain lead. This is great news for publishers who print in the U.S., since lead-based inks are banned anyway. There is no need to test or certify.

If you’re a crafter, or if you sell garments, toys or kits containing components, you’ll only need to test those components that fall into the category of “questionable”—fake jewels, buttons, certain trims, metal zipper pulls, etc. Even so, simple XRF screening for lead will suffice for now. No need for the expensive, CPSC-authorized lab testing.

As my friend Kate pointed out, we’ve all been given a bit more time “to test, to lobby, to enact change, to appeal.” This isn’t a cure-all, but it sure does give some breathing room!

Roman coinsFor some crafters, most of the proposed amendments to the CPSIA won’t completely cover kits containing unique or one-of-a-kind items. Kate’s kits contain items like authentic ancient Roman coins. These “can’t be tested by the manufacturer . . . and each discrete unit is its own batch.”

Manufacturers also get a reprieve from ridiculous testing requirements. Take ordinary books, which don’t contain lead. At least for a year, a publisher won’t have to retest every time he prints more. And for products that aren’t quite so cut and dried, XRF testing will satisfy the need to know for the time being.

Penalties Still Apply

But we’d better know for sure, because even though CPSC put a stay on testing, “Manufacturers and importers – large and small – of children’s products . . . will need to meet the lead and phthalates limits, mandatory toy standards and other requirements.” So even though we don’t have to test, we remain responsible and accountable. The fines and other penalties still apply.

Small manufacturers and publishers are breathing a collective sigh of relief right now. Though there’s still work ahead of us, it’s gratifying to see that all the protesting, lobbying, and outcry over the CPSIA has not fallen on deaf ears. I, for one, am thankful that we’ve been given some time to keep the momentum going as we continue pushing for re-evaluation of the CPSIA.

Update: A few more reads on the subject

Stay, CPSIA! Stay! Good CPSIA.

Children’s Books Get One-Year Stay from Anti-Lead Law

Children’s product sellers get 1-year reprieve on lead testing

Lead rule shelved; Oklahoma libraries relieved

CPSIA Stay II

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