Sorry Buster, but Grandpa’s mess kit is off-limits

Hop On Pop
Creative Commons License photo credit: ginnerobot

Yes, today is the day that the CPSIA – the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act – takes effect.

Today is the day that manufacturers, resellers and retailers of products for children start to see the reality behind all the discussion going on for the last several months. 

Some even call it “National Bankruptcy Day” because businesses all over the US close tomorrow rather than take a chance on selling an item that could generate a $100,000 fine.

Today is the day that anything for kids with 600 parts per million of lead (600ppm) or more is considered a banned hazardous substance, whether it was made today or 200 years prior. 

No, I’m not kidding.

Abel had it coming either way

That’s right. There is no grandfather clause for lead or phthalate content. It’s retroactive back to a few days prior to the arrival of the first at-risk children: Cain and Abel.

Even books printed prior to 1985 are likely to be considered “banned hazardous materials”, as most of the ink used prior to 1985 print them contained small amounts of lead.

That first edition Little Women that you were going to hand down to your granddaughter? Better wait till she’s 13. 

Confused yet? You aren’t alone. Many businesses of all sizes are confused.

Confusion reigns

Even the Feds are confused. The CPSC recently issued a 13 page small business guidance document for those wondering what to do about the CPSIA.

When I say “recently”, I mean one day before the CPSIA takes effect.  That leaves you with plenty of time to react, doesn’t it?

At the bottom, that CPSC staff-created document says that it might not be applicable to reality because the commission has to officially approve whatever they put in that document. And you know from history that non-binding doesn’t mean it doesn’t cost you anything.

Want a little irony? Even an enthusiastic consumer advocate organization like National Resources Defense Council, a fan of the CPSIA, doesn’t understand that they are liable for the “onesie” that they sell on their website. They also don’t appear to care about trademark law, as “onesie” is a trademarked term in the children’s product market. But…they think these things don’t apply to them because they didn’t manufacture the item.

About their liability re: the CPSIA, they are dead wrong.

CPSIA – Closer to home

Me? I wonder about all those antique volumes for sale on ebay and specialty websites. That 1910 version of “Handbook for Boys” that was written by Lord Baden-Powell – the founder of the Boy Scouts.

That mess kit that your grandfather used in WWI or when he was a Scout. 

Both are illegal items for the 12 and under set. Can’t sell them. Can’t donate them. Can’t export them. That’d be “Commerce”, which is what is covered for these items. 

Still not too late to contact your reps and Senators. There is a stay on testing in place, but there isn’t a stay on liability, nor on the law itself. Only Congress can make that happen.

Update: Link to small business guide was changed by CPSC so it has been changed here as well.

3 thoughts on “Sorry Buster, but Grandpa’s mess kit is off-limits”

  1. Pingback: 600ppm: The CPSIA Blog | CPSIA Updates: February 10th, 2009

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