1. What is the CPSIA and what are the consequences for the
independent maker and vintage seller?
After a spate of imported children’s products were found to contain lead, the
United States Congress quickly drafted and passed the CPSIA, or the Consumer
Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in August 2008. This law is slated to go
into implementation on February 10, 2009.
Among other things, the CPSIA bans lead and phthalates in children's products,
mandates third party testing and certification, and requires manufacturers of all
goods for children under the age of 12 to permanently label each item with a date
and batch number.
Under the very important auspices of child safety, the CPSIA may have grave
unintended consequences: fewer choices for families who are looking for
handcrafted alternatives. Many Etsy artists and craftspeople have expressed
fears that they won't be able stay in business due to the burdensome cost of
testing and certification pursuant to the proposed legislation.
So what does this mean? Walter Olson of Forbes and overlawyered.com puts it
“As of Feb. 10, it will become unlawful to make or sell anything intended
for use by children under 12 without a program to test the goods for lead
— even if no items of their kind have ever been found to pose a lead risk,
even if you make and sell only a few inexpensive items a year, even if
you've sourced their materials from the most conscientious local suppliers
and even if they're items toddlers seldom convey into their mouths, such
as dartboards or bicycle tires.
In August, relatively lenient self-checks will give way to a much costlier
mandate for ‘third-party’ lab testing. That will mean testing every lot of
goods — typically each style/size combination — at a cost of perhaps
hundreds of dollars per lot for simple items, and potentially much more
than that for items with multiple colors, components or materials.
Because there is at present no green light for once-for-all component
testing, the same bit of elastic or fabric trim will have to be tested again
and again as part of each lot.”
The full article is here: http://www.forbes.com/2009/01/22/cpsia-waxman-cpscoped-