IS CPSC to Help Thrifts & Resale on the CPSIA?

A news story out of Florida reports that the Consumer Product Safety Commission is going to release guidelines to address how thrifts and resale shops must comply with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).  This may be great news – we’ll have to see.

For background, the CPSIA imposes a lead limit on children’s products on February 10, 2009.  As written, the CPSIA defines all children’s products that do not meet a 600 parts per million (ppm) lead limit as “banned hazardous substances” under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA).  The FHSA prohibits the distribution in commerce of any banned hazardous substance.  The CPSC’s General Counsel has made it very clear that the CPSC believes the law requires all children’s products in the market, including resale, to be obligated to meet the law.

And that has put the resale and thrift industry in a difficult position – how do they comply?  Item by item testing is expensive, and time consuming.  Thrifts and resale shops can’t go back to suppliers to get information on an item, like the big retailers are doing.  So, some have stopped accepting donations of children’s goods and were planning on ceasing sales of children’s products, including clothing on February 10, 2009.

But, according to Director of Public Affairs Jule Vallese, as quoted in the news story, used resale items are different than retail products under the law and do not need to test.  FYI – Ms. Vallese submitted her resignation, and is leaving the CPSC on January 16, 2009.  And, FYI, her comments have also been taken out of context before by this Florida news station.  There is no exemption in the law for resale.  What it appears she means, as alluded to later in the story, is that the law does not require testing but that the items do need to meet the law.

But, the most important tidbit in the news story, is that 10 Connects reports that CPSC told it that it will be issuing specific guidelines for the resale industry this week.  I’ll keep you posted!

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