President Obama Signs CPSIA Revised “Lead” Bill into Law

Almost as a footnote – important legislation has been passed with little fanfare – because of the debt ceiling crisis and the infighting in Washington. The government finally passed a bill designed to fix many of the issues that had plagued implementation of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA).  That bill had so many flaws and concerns – especially for small manufacturers that a fix was needed. Following bipartisan and near unanimous passage by Congress, President Obama signed the bill into law on August 5.  The CPSIA amendments address a number of flaws or unintended consequences of the 2008 law, particularly provisions that proved too costly for small businesses to implement or that were simply impractical or disproportionate to the perceived risk.  Some parts of the law clarify that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has the authority to implement the law in a common-sense way.

The new revisions will apply the lead limit of 100 ppm in children’s products, to goods manufactured after August 14, sparing those already produced and held as inventory. Several other changes were made to the bill including third-party testing regulations and testing relief for “small-batch manufacturers,” who produce no more than 10,000 units per year and a gross revenue less than $1,000,000 in the previous year.

This bill was first introduced by Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) and was approved by both the House and Senate on August 1.

Here just a few of the key points of the new bill:

  • Lead limits – The 100 parts per million (ppm) limit for lead content that went into effect August 14, 2011, for children’s products will apply to products manufactured after that date and will not apply to products in inventory.  The law also clarifies that the lead limits will not apply to used products donated to charities or sold through second-hand stores, thrift shops, or by individuals.  The new law also clarifies that publishers do not have to test ordinary books for lead content.
  • Mandatory third-party testing – The new law prompts the CPSC to make a number of changes to its requirements for product testing, including provisions that allowing the agency to exempt small batch manufacturers and requiring the CPSC to report to Congress on ways to reduce the testing burden on businesses.

While some provisions in the law directly amend existing laws and regulations, for the most part the law simply empowers the CPSC to adopt regulations exempting certain products or component parts from regulation.

So, what does this mean to garment decorators. Will you have to test all products? How will you find a tester? Who will speak up for you? Who will clarify the law and how you need to comply?

We don’t have many answers here. In fact, this same basic story ran in Printwear Magazine, PPAI‘s website, SGIA‘s website and other industry and non-industry sites – and they all pretty much parroted the law and did not give any conclusions. SGIA has been the most vocal and best resource and our guess is they will have more on their website soon. With a large trade show coming up and summer vacations it would seem they just need to throw some manpower behind coming up with answers.

To read more – and get more confused – here a a few links to follow. T-Biz Network will also be following this and will provide updates as this all shakes out. Don’t sell your equipment yet.

SGIA

Printwear Magazine

PPAI

Product Liability Monitor

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