The New CPSC law in effect

By Kristie Turck •  Published 02/16/09 •  3 min read

Last week, I had to run to Toys R Us for a birthday present, just two days after the new CPSC law had gone into effect. I was more curious to see how retailers were taking action.

I noticed that the shelves were a little more bare, but quite frankly, I was disappointed.   I’m pretty sure the Yo Gabba Gabba figurines my kid wanted so badly were vinyl, along with many other items in the store.  And I saw the same thing at Target.   Dolls still on the shelves, and many other questionable toys.

The new law, no doubt has been confusing to many people.  I’ve read countless articles with quotes from consignment store owners, who are either confused or are being downright defiant about taking items off their shelves.   And in all honesty, I can’t see how the CPSC is going to have the time to enforce every single mom and pop store in the US.   I’ve read countless blog posts about how this is going to affect the handmade community and the actions taken to help save them.

In case you still aren’t sure about the new law, and believe me, I don’t blame you one bit if it seems hazy, trying to read through the cpsc’s guidelines is enough to make anyone’s head spin.   Here’s an article I’ve found from the AJC:

New products

It’s unlikely shoppers will notice any change in the kind or quantity of merchandise offered new, although they might notice price increases if manufacturers pass along the cost of testing to retailers, who could pass it to consumers.

Most manufacturers won’t be required to test or certify that their products meet new safety standards until Feb. 10, 2010, but they already are required to meet the new lead and phthalate levels. Many retailers reacted by pulling suspect items, from toys to clothes to Valentine’s Day gifts, off shelves. Toys “R” Us has said it required additional third-party product testing, date-coding and guidelines for lead content, and told manufacturers that products had to be made without phthalates by the end of 2008.

Used products

Shoppers searching for used baby and children’s items will see less of a selection. Those trying to sell their old equipment might be out of luck.

Thrift and consignment stores aren’t required to do pricey testing on products, but they still can face criminal or civil penalties for selling those that don’t meet the new standards.

My opinion on this, and you may or may not agree, and that’s ok, is that the law should apply to everyone, from artisans, to large retail stores.    I shouldn’t have to worry no matter where I shop, as the law was put in place to protect us, not to put people out of business.   Because the law is still new,  and there was a lot of industry petitioning against it, my guess is that a lot of stores waited until the last minute to clear their shelves and hopefully, are still in the process.    Until then, I’m afraid it’s buyer beware.