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Product Safety Law In Place
Volume 635
August 13, 2009 

Beginning August 14, government officials will officially begin enforcing specific measures within the intensely debated Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). The law, designed to increase the safety of children's products, will significantly reduce the amount of lead permitted in toys and require manufacturers to label and track items with permanent, non-adhesive markings. The labeling and tracking rules, which have been a cause of concern for manufacturers, officially take effect tomorrow and the law calls for violators to be fined up to $15 million. "I plan to enforce the CPSIA," said Inez Tenenbaum, the newly appointed chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in a recent interview with the Associated Press. "We will follow the statute."

In May, the CPSC rejected a one-year CPSIA stay sought by some manufacturers who argued the law was too broad and forced far too expensive testing. Within the ad specialty industry, suppliers support the CPSIA, as long as the promotional message of clients is not overridden by labeling rules. "We feel we'll be in compliance as long as we make a good faith effort to facilitate tracking," said Rick Brenner, president and CEO of Prime Line (asi/79530), in an interview earlier this year with Counselor.

Specifically, Section 103 of the CPSIA requires a tracking label to provide "marks that will enable the ultimate purchaser to ascertain the manufacturer or private labeler, the location and date of production of the product and cohort information." In addition, manufacturers are not permitted to attach labeling tags or adhesive labels to fabrics, which some believe complicates the design process of certain items.

Besides different tracking rules, the CPSIA introduces a new standard for the allowance of lead in children's products. The limit will become 300 parts per million, half the amount currently permitted. The CPSIA requirements apply to all products primarily manufactured for children age 12 or younger that are made on or after August 14, 2009. Tenenbaum believes manufacturers have had adequate time to prepare for the CPSIA requirements, although she has said the CPSC will continue to provide guidance for smaller businesses to ensure safe products.

Click here for more information on CPSIA and the impending new regulations.

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