The CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act) of 2008 passed through Congress in October of 2008 swiftly and without public notice or news coverage. Its intent was to protect consumers (children in particular) from injury or death due to high lead or phthalates additives in products that are largely made overseas (ala the Chinese toy scare of 2007).
However, in its fervor to pass this law (before the November 2008 election, no doubt), those who passed it, did not do their homework or clarify their verbiage or intent. Literally every “manufacturer” (including the home-based woodworkers and doll makers here in the US) would have been put out of business in the first draft of this grotesquely overly-broad and all-inclusive piece of legislation that even still considers buttons and zippers as possible sources of lead. (Have you EVER heard of a child getting lead poisoning from a zipper?)
Through the efforts of thousands and thousands of American small and home-based business owners and handcrafters . . . including the members of this small business community . . . the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Congressmen from every state, and even our President and his staff have been made aware of the problems (and the total lack of good sense) in this legislation, which really protects no one in its lack of clarity.
Gradually, the law was amended and revised -- not enough, but it’s better than it was and we can hope that further changes will be possible for the future.
The home-based crafter selling products, and the small toy store on the corner in your hometown are just as liable as major manufacturers under this policy. Some totally strange standards still apply, so vigilance is required..
If YOU are a small business owner: retailer, handcrafter, distributor of ANY products for children, including clothing, or if you even donate such items to non-profits, you need to keep up with this law -- click here to read details of how this applies to your business or products.