Consumer Law Clarified, but Small Firms Likely Unprepared
Owners of consignment stores, thrift stores and some toy stores are breathing a sigh of relief thanks to a new clarification from the Consumer Product Safety Commission over an upcoming regulation that could have abruptly put many of them out of business.
However, many small firms that could be impacted likely are not even aware that the regulation that takes effect on Feb. 10.
The law -- the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act -- mandates that all products including clothing sold for children ages 12 and younger be tested for lead and phthalates, which are chemicals that make plastic more flexible. The safety commission is responsible for enforcing the law.
Congress passed the regulations last year in response to massive recalls of products that harmed children, including toys and products made with lead paint.
While H.R. 4040 was well intended, critics said its language was too broad and could have shuttered U.S. makers of handmade clothes and toys, as well as stores that resell children's clothing.
The Los Angeles Times quoted an independent maker of children's clothes who said she couldn't afford to pay the $50,000 it would have cost to have a private lab test her clothing line in response to the regulation. She was preparing to close her business before the clarification was issued.
The National Federation of Independent Business urged the CPSC to "take all steps necessary" to prepare the children's products business community for Feb. 10 "even if it means delaying the implementation and enforcement of these laws."
The maximum penalty for noncompliance is $15 million. The NFIB expressed concern that most small businesses don't have the employee resources to review the CPSC guidance.
When the act was signed into law on Aug. 14 it became unlawful to sell recalled products. The CPSC recommends that resellers check its Web site www.cpsc.gov for information on recalled products before taking it into inventory.
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Posted by: Savekidsresale | January 9, 2009 3:27 PM
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