Lead out of Children's Items
Handmade toy makers are breathing a sigh of relief as the enactment of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) has been delayed one year. The act had noble intentions: Keep dangerous lead and phthalates out of children's toys. However, the legislation was far reaching and threatened second hand stores, libraries and small scale toy makers.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted unanimously to a one year stay of enforcement on some of the acts provisions. Even if some of the testing requirements have been postponed, some very important parts of the act are still in effect. According to CPSC.gov the stay does not apply to:
Four requirements for third-party testing and certification of certain
children's products subject to:
- The ban on lead in paint and other surface coatings effective for products made after December 21, 2008;
- The standards for full-size and non full-size cribs and pacifiers effective for products made after January 20, 2009;
- The ban on small parts effective for products made after February 15, 2009; and
- The limits on lead content of metal components of children's jewelry effective for products made after March 23, 2009.
These requirements will go a long way to helping keep kids safe. The recent rash of recalls, primarily on children's items made in China, had parents across the country up in arms. The CPSIA makes it clear that lead paint is not to be used on children's products, a huge step toward protecting young children.
"Lead is a neurotoxin. We don't want lead in the toys and articles that our children are using," said Cindy Luppi, the New England Program Director for Clean Water Action.
The CPSC also worked in more stringent requirements for pacifiers and cribs. Cribs, both full-sized and bassinet styles were among the recently recalled items.
Libraries across the country were troubled over the CPSIA's regulations regarding nearly all of the children's books on their shelves. Public libraries run on very small budgets and librarians were very concerned about the cost of testing their children's book sections. Donna Rasche, a librarian at the Brewer, Maine Public Library expressed her concerns.
"The cost would be unbelievably high for them to test all of these books so we could keep them in the library, and how long would we go without them if every library in New England sends them to the same lab."
Proponents of the act believe that no cost is too high to keep children safe. Hopefully the enactment of the four requirements listed above and the stay on the remaining requirements will keep children safe without harming small businesses and libraries across the country. This is a delicate balance where, hopefully, our children will come out the winner.