The CPSIA act broken down for the Layperson.--Its really Not as bad
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...as it seems
I decided to put some of my paralegal education to good use, and actually read (and consult my textbooks for certain sections) through the entire act with a fine tooth comb...and guess what?
For one, contrary to what I and many believed--it isn't specifically directed at kid's items but all items that fall under the auspices of CPSC, which covers the gamut. This law basically re-establishes the enforcement capabilities of CPSC as a government agency. They are now in essence the USDA of consumer products and as such, much like local and corporate farmers as well as meat plants and butchers must handle their products in a certain way from now on, so too must those who manufacture/make/sell products to the consumer, especially children's products. Its going to be tough in the way that the meat industry was decimated by the formation of the USDA in the early 20th century, Many people went out of business BUT on the other hand...when was the last time you purchased sausage made in someone's backyard? At least there is some type of standard in those industries and every industry prior to this time has had a prevailing standard meant to ensure safety and professionalism. So my prediction after reading the law is this:
---many got into making children's products because it was/is easy to some extents. Either they have kids or grandkids, it takes little materials to start out, and the finished product just has to be cute in order to gather a following many times. As such this law is going to be a seperating of the wheat and the chaff. Those who are in it vs. those who jumped in because it was easy. This law is going to require some amount of professionalism from even the smallest producing home seamstress--if they want to stay in business because I suspect much like many of consumer labels you can try to under the radar but you'll end up only hurting your own business--I have a suspicion that being able to say that you are CPSIA compliant will become an advertising tool that will have sway with consumers in the future, especially of children's things.
It really ain't that bad. It AIN'T easy...but its not the death of handmade if an exemption can be made for definite OOAK(meaning there is no product beyond that one item). The problem that everyone is running into is that the overall reading is dense and somewhat confusing if you're not already familiar with the lingo. I am halfway done. There are some misnomers that I have come across just in partially reading through it(I'll finish when I return home later this evening.)
Here's the good news:
1.) Congress gave CPSC LIBERAL room to make a great many decisions so that may be one reason why many senators are writing people off---its actually in the hands of CPSC to decide upon a variety of things:
---------whether to exclude certain materials or products and inaccessible component parts
---------if they will allow XRF guns to become a permanent solution for compliance testing or other alternative methods. And regarding this forget what they're saying now--Congress gave them an entire year beyond the date of the CPSIA enactment to make their final decision..so likely that will change as the hype subsides.
---------If CPSC determines under sub-paragraph C that the regulatory limits are not technologically feasible for a product or product category, the commission can by regulation establish an amount that is for that product or product category----translation: science classrooms can breathe a sigh of relief, microscopes are not going anywhere, neither are the lead aprons required for X-RAY testing.
2.)The CPSIA of 2008 covers ALL consumer products...let me say that again ALL---ALL---one more time---ALL products (section 102A) All manufacturers are required to certify that such product complies with all rules, bans, standards, and regulations as set forth by the commission. So Everyone on Etsy is operating illegally if anyone wants to talk about legality UNLESS they have already filed a GCC form with the CPSC as of Nov. 2008.
3.)Third Party Testing...ain't as bad as its been made out to be, as I thought it would be. What will happen is an entirely new industry even within handmade will spring up devoted to testing and providing compliance certificates. Now this is where the CPSC seemingly did it ass-backwards: they'll publish requirements for accreditation of third party testing conformity assessment bodies no later than 10 months AFTER the date of enactment(which is Feb 10th)...but in actuality it does make sense since third party testing is not required until August 12,2008. Expect mom and pop shops to set up having purchased XRF guns(because more than likely that will be allowed)Expect testing to become ALOT less expensive once the CPSC publishes the requirements to become a third party tester.
4.) Third Party Testing---this is why you aren't going to get off unless you are truly OOAK--and by OOAK I mean that you have one item and all materials are soaked up into that one item...nothing left over BECAUSE in the section for third party testing it specifically says that one can:
.............."submit sufficient samples of the children's product OR samples that are identical in all material respects to the product to a third party conformity assessment body accredited... to be tested for compliance with CPSIA rules"
5.) Now here's where the rubber meets the road--here's where everyone's industry knowledge comes in:
-----a manufacturer or private labeler(cottage industry person) shall issue either a seperate certficate for each children's product safety rule applicable to a product or a combined certficate that certifies compliance w/ all applicable CPSIA rules.
-------Regarding tracking labels: they must be permanent labels issued on every product for children stating reference to batch #, location & date of production, and any cohort information
------NEWSFLASH----NEWSFLASH----as people dealing with textile goods, we're supposed to ALREADY be doing this.
Hello? Care labels---ever check out Gymboree's labels...they already include this including date of production/season. Legally if you deal in textile products, you're supposed to have what has become known in the industry as care labels but in actuality are tracking labels to let you know production date, fabric content, care(of course) country of origin,and manufacturer details. So if you are a private labeler(boutique seller) and you want your label on a piece of merchandise, say an American Apparel tee---legally you're supposed to put the RN # of your supplier on the care label even though you may put your label inside the shirt. -If you leave the American Apparel label in, you must have a care label that gives your RN # or company name. You must also have fabric content, country of origin, production date and/or tracking number...this has ALWAYS been required under federal law in the textile industry. It just hasn't been required in industries like toys (that aren't cloth) and the like(cribs for instance)---in the past a company selling those products could voluntarily disclose that information---for instance you might find it on carseats now but often you're hardpressed to find any definite information on a crib. For those types of durable goods---the tracking label has to be engraved or otherwise permanently affixed because presumably they might go through many hands and circumstances over a period of years. So in other words if you deal in textiles you should already be properly labeling your items, the new news is for those not in textiles who previous to this time had a choice on compliance.
I'll put more as I read through later this evening...but in other words:
--- you're not going to go out of business unless you want too. Eventually CPSIA compliant will be used as a marketing tool, especially among the big companies.
--- the real problem lies in exemptions for XRF guns, OOAK items, and the general limbo that the arbitrary Feb. 10th deadline presents since as one person mentioned----as of now there are only 15 places to get tested and CPSC hasn't even caught up with themselves yet. They still according to what Congress set forth have to do a study on efficient testing options for ascertaining lead levels, publish requirements for lead testing centers, and decide what they will exempt in terms of material.
-------For those worried about illegality...according to the CPSIA act, everyone on here who hasn't filed a GCC for their products is "illegal". Its not just a children's products issue.
Posted at 6:45 pm Jan 16, 2009 EST
Ah, one last thing...so in regards to tracking labels, basically no more will a care label be a selling point for your item in an Etsy description...if you want to sell it, it better have it...which means the growth of another industry, even on Etsy.
Posted at 6:47 pm Jan 16, 2009 EST
First, i didn't get into children's products because it was easy...
Second, the third party testing starts August 14th and is cost prohibitive even if we can do XRF until then. even if testers will pop up to serve our community...when will this happen? There is no guarantee. I as a business who must think ahead cannot live on the off chance that testers may give me a break. Estimates for testing my bibs are $600-$800 ...I can't afford that. I will go out of business if the testing requirements are not changed.
Posted at 8:53 pm Jan 16, 2009 EST
I agree with you itty, I have been picking it apart with a fine tooth comb as well, and have been met with some opposition and people telling me I'm wrong, Perhaps that is true, perhaps I am wrong, but after referring to definitions, and checking all the cross referencing, and using the basic grammatical rules I know, I have found that your right. I'ts not so bad. The hard part is getting others to believe that. If you haven't already checked my "I think I found something" thread, I'd love to hear what you think about it.
Posted at 8:54 pm Jan 16, 2009 EST