Wednesday, January 14, 2009

CPSIA Ruling and What We're Doing About It

Hey there,

Many of you have been asking how Knowledge Quest will be affected by the new CPSIA ruling that requires all products geared to children 12 years and younger to be tested for lead and phthalate levels. First, here's a brief summary, as we understand it...

On August 14th, congress passed a new law stating that all products intended for children (or that will come into contact with children) 12 and under be tested to determine lead and phthalate levels. (Phthalates are used as plasticizers added to plastics to increase their flexibility, in case you didn't know. I didn't!). The law will be enforced on February 10th, meaning that all children's products need to be certified that they fall below the acceptable levels or be removed from store shelves.

Sounds like a law with good intentions, doesn't it? I mean, truly, who wants to have items around our home that will be harmful to our children. The only trouble is that this is a law that has used a very wide brush in an attempt to paint very tiny details. It is overkill! The law came into being as a result of the hundreds of recalled products in 2007 (nicknamed the Year of the Recall). Most of these recalled items were toys manufactured and imported from China. However, this ruling affects all products, whether imported or manufactured right here in the States. AND it affects products already on store shelves.

This law requires testing on toys, clothing, books, CDs, and so much more!

You might be wondering how this affects you. Well, big businesses and small businesses alike will need to come into compliance with this law or destroy their inventory as of February 10th. That is why you are beginning to see massive liquidation sales. Some small businesses are planning to close their doors on February 9th. February 10th is being dubbed National Bankrupcy Day. Why? Because it is incredibly expensive to have small batches of products tested - $400 per piece on the low end all the way up to thousands of dollars. PLUS there aren't enough labs around the country to handle the massive number of items that need to be tested before 2/10.

Libraries will need to remove their children's books, if revisions are not made to this law before the looming date. It will be considered unlawful to check out a children's book that is uncertified starting on February 10th. And the fine is hefty if a company is found to be in violation - $100,000.

Do I sound like a scare monger to you? Trust me, I am not. We have been watching this closely since the week before Christmas and have read all of the legalese, the class action suits, the articles and the petitions. Frankly, I do not think this law is enforceable at the scale in which it has been written, but we do not want to take our chances either.

We are praying that major revisions would be made to this law. We believe (hope) that books will be made exempt at some point during this process. But, we will not operate illegally. For this reason, we have sent out our books intended for children 12 and under to be tested. The craziest part, of course, is that even if a book is found to have higher than acceptable lead levels, a child would have to do much more than lick the book or chew off a corner. They would have to consume the whole thing! I have never in all my life witnessed such a rediculous thing.

At what point did we become more concerned with the amount and content of books that our children are EATING over and above the amount and content they are READING?

Does this ruling bother you? You can read more about it here:

http://www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/faq/faq.html
http://thephoenix.com/Boston/News/74940-Congress-bans-kids-from-libraries/
http://kidsproducts.suite101.com/article.cfm/childrens_books_and_the_cpsia
http://www.wo.ala.org/districtdispatch/?p=1322
http://cfx.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20080731/news_1n31toys.html
http://www.cpsc.gov:80/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml09/09086.html

You can also call and write your senators and ask them to consider the enormous implications of this law as it stands and have exemptions put in place for books, clothing and other items that obviously do not contain any or hardly any of these substances.

And finally, please pray for small companies that may go out of businesses as a direct result of this law. Pray for the employees that will have to find work elsewhere. Pray for the thousands of home businesses that are currently self-supporting but will have to shut down because there is no way they can come into compliance because of the expense of testing. Pray that God would make a way.

We will continue to watch and pray!

3 comments:

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Meredith said...

Hi Terri! Thanks for posting this article. How sad that we are more concerned about the content of what are children are eating than what they are reading--well said! Blessings!

Mary said...

Hi Terri, thanks for this info. I went to the CPSIA website and one of their more recent pdf files tells that books will absolutely not be included in this ruling...unless they are for tub use, or have a toy included in the book. Here is the link:
http://www.cpsc.gov/library/foia/advisory/323.pdf

I'd really appreciate your thoughts on this. Is there even more recent news that shows that used books for children will still be affected?

Thanks so much for keeping us informed!

Mary