Thursday, January 8, 2009

What will the CPSIA do to us???

Some of you may have heard about new legislation created to protect children from products that contain lead and other chemicals. Currently there is a ton of confusion swirling about this. This law may potentially shut down all resale shops, boutique clothing designers, jewelry, toy, & bow makers, to name a few. Rumor has it there will be a press release either today or tomorrow that will stop some of the confusion. Below is an article that helps explain some of the current situation. As if the economy isn't bad enough.......

New law puts local businesses on edge
Hoping not to fold
By David Migoya The Denver Post
Posted: 01/08/2009 12:30:00 AM MST

Verity Freebern, owner of Grow, packs up clothes at her store in anticipation of closing because of a law going into effect Feb. 10 that will require nearly all sellers of children's products to verify that their wares have been tested for high levels of lead.
Local businesses that make and sell children's products — from baby-blanket makers to thrift shops — are wailing that a new federal law devised to target toys laden with lead might unintentionally force them to close.
The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, signed in August and effective Feb. 10, requires any maker or retailer of an item designed for children younger than 12 to conform with strict limits on lead and other harmful substances.
The law was Congress' way of slamming the door on the runaway recalls of more than 45 million products — 8 million of them toys — in the past several years, most of them from China, that contained unsafe levels of lead and other hazards. Ambiguities in the law have
small-business owners worried that the costly tests will force them out of business.
"If the law isn't interpreted differently, I'm going to have to close, and I already don't make a lot, and for this to be added to my costs is unbearable," said Olivia Omega Logan, 29, whose home- based business, Baby Candy Store, makes a line of organic T-shirts.
Though her products are made from undyed, unbleached cotton and use a screening process that's lead-free, "I still will have to test them all," she said.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission, which enforces the law, voted Tuesday to exclude from the requirements all clothing, toys and other goods made of unaltered natural materials such as cotton and wood. But printing or embellishing the items would make tests necessary.
Logan is leading an effort to pool area businesses into a voice that can be heard in Washington, D.C. They plan their first meeting today at Ambajam Children's Clothing in Denver.
All items marketed for use by children must be tested and certified as meeting strict lead limits. And if a retailer doesn't have the manufacturer's certification, it's required to test and certify the item itself. So thrift stores, in theory, must test every child-specific item on their shelves.
The law's effective date has been dubbed by some small businesses as National Bankruptcy Day because of the high costs they face in meeting the CPSIA requirements.
Though independent lab testing of items isn't required until August, alternative tests that can be used until then can still cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, affected business owners say.
"It's tough having a manufacturing business since we're competing with those who are making such giant quantities overseas," said Verity Freebern, whose Denver-based business, Grow, makes and sells, among other things, children's clothing.
"I can't even fathom the cost and just won't make any more clothes (and will) sell off what I have and move on," she said.
For now, any children's item not certified by Feb. 10 — no matter how long ago it was made — cannot be sold legally. However, John Moss, a Chicago lawyer who counsels clients on CPSC issues, said it's unlikely that small retailers such as thrift shops will be targeted for enforcement.
Without clarity, though, no one can know for sure.
David Migoya: 303-954-1506 or

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