EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 1952 - January 09, 2009     2 of 5

New Product Safety Law Affects Resellers and Crafters

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Online sellers who make or resell children's items have been concerned about a new law designed to protect children from unsafe products. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued guidance on Thursday intended for resellers of children's products as well as thrift and consignment stores.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) requires every manufacturer (including an importer) or private labeler of a children's product (those intended for children twelve years of age or younger) to have their product tested by an accredited independent testing lab and certified. Beginning February 10, 2009, children's products cannot be sold if they contain more than 600 parts per million (ppm) total lead.

The CPSC issued guidance on Thursday stating the new safety law does not require resellers to test children's products in inventory for compliance with the lead limit before they are sold. "However, resellers cannot sell children's products that exceed the lead limit and therefore should avoid products that are likely to have lead content, unless they have testing or other information to indicate the products being sold have less than the new limit. Those resellers that do sell products in violation of the new limits could face civil and/or criminal penalties."

Mitzi, an online seller of vintage items, covered the news on her Vintage List blog and revealed her relief upon reading the news. "So, we should still be careful about selling items that might actually contain high amounts of lead - but, our Little Golden Books, dolls and clothing shouldn't be a problem."

The CPSC said that while it expects every company to comply fully with the new laws, resellers should pay special attention to certain product categories. "Among these are recalled children's products, particularly cribs and play yards; children's products that may contain lead, such as children's jewelry and painted wooden or metal toys; flimsily made toys that are easily breakable into small parts; toys that lack the required age warnings; and dolls and stuffed toys that have buttons, eyes, noses or other small parts that are not securely fastened and could present a choking hazard for young children."

Etsy, a marketplace for handmade goods and vintage items, has been urging its members to get involved. In a December 10th blog post entitled, "Handmade Children's Items & Unintended Consequences: Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act," the company expressed its concerns over unintended consequences of the law: "fewer choices for families who are looking for handcrafted alternatives." In an open letter, it wrote that many of its artists and craftspeople members have expressed fears that they would not be able stay in business "due to the burdensome cost of testing and certification pursuant to the proposed legislation."

It continues to keep members updated through its blog posts, most recently on Thursday in which it also linked to a page on with the title, Save Small Business From the CPSIA. It also pointed to a January 6th article from Bloomberg that reported on the Consumer Product Safety Commission vote to exempt electronic goods and products with lead embedded inside from new rules banning the metal in toys, and to exempt natural products such as gems and cotton from mandatory testing for lead.

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About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

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