What's new in various product categories; monthly
The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act and
It's a far cry from the situation in Europe.
Staff Report (May 4, 2009)
The following is a report sent by the CPSIA committee of The
National NeedleArts Assn. to TNNA members:
To All Members:
On August 8, 2008, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA)
was signed into law by former President Bush. The scope of this new
legislation, also called HR 4040, is daunting. Under the new
regulations, most craft products could be defined as children’s
products by Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). This will
have a huge impact on manufacturers, importers, distributors and
retailers in the craft industry. Although we all want to protect our
children from unsafe products, this law is like cleaning up a
mosquito-infested pond with an atomic bomb.
Under this law, as of February 10, 2009, retailers cannot sell
their existing inventory of children’s products that do not meet
CPSIA’s new strict testing standards! This means a potential loss
of sales for you and millions of dollars of unsalable inventory in
stores and distributing companies.
What does this means for you? Besides the loss of potential sales
and inventory value, the enforcement and penalties for
non-compliance can be $100,000 per violation – up to $15 million
for multiple violations – and imprisonment up to 5 years. CPSIA is
being viewed as a major challenge in our industry, since our
products (yarns, threads, accessories and anything with a finish)
have the potential to be used for handmade children’s wear,
quilts, pillows, toys, etc.
As of February 10, 2009, CPSIA makes it illegal to manufacture,
distribute, import or sell any children’s products (hand-knitting
yarns, accessories, needlepoint and cross-stitch threads, beads and
embellishments are included in this) containing more than 600 PPM
lead in the substrate of any component part of the product
(including dyes), regardless of its production date. As of August
14, 2009, the limit on lead content in substrates will decrease to
no more than 300 PPM (and will further decrease to 100 PPM by the
year 2011 if the CPSC deems that level technologically feasible).
Going forward, the law will require that an independent
laboratory test the entire existing and new inventory of yarns,
threads and accessories (each dye lot) for lead levels. As of this
moment, existing facilities are running about 60 days behind. If
each dye lot has to be tested, the first day the law goes into
effect these labs will be years behind, making it impossible for us
to comply with this law.
All of us need to immediately contact our U.S. Representatives
and U.S. Senators in Washington, D.C. to let them know how this will
affect our businesses. Hand-knitting yarns, stitching threads and
embellishments must be excluded from the scope of this law. TNNA
must join forces with other craft and hobby associations to act
together and explain to lawmakers how devastating this could be to
We have formulated bullet points so that you can compose a letter
stressing the pertinent facts surrounding this poorly written law
and its unintended consequences that will affect the fabric of
American small business in this economic climate. We have also
provided links (see below) to make it easier to contact your elected
Please take the time to send a letter to your local lawmakers.
Because of a similar campaign through CHA and other craft industry
trade associations, the CPSC agreed to extend the deadline for
compliance through February, 2010. Our hope is that because of your
participation, the CPSC will agree that our products fall outside
the scope of this regulatory legislation.
We have only nine months to stop this from becoming law and
killing our businesses. We must take action NOW!
Be sure you identify yourself as a constituent of the
congressperson to whom you are writing. Use e-mail.US mail is
considered dangerous in Congress because of attention-seeking people
sending white powder in envelopes. The U.S. Senate receives many
e-mails from many different people for different issues every day.
Please personalize your letter when sending it to your Senator and
Representatives – do not rely on form letters to get their
Links to your U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators: www.usa.gov/contact/elected.shtml;
Bullet points to include in you correspondence:
1. Ask for their assistance in petitioning the Consumer
Product Safety Commission to exempt our products from compliance
with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) HR 4040.
2. The testing agencies currently take 60 days to test a
product. If each dye lot of all threads, beads, embellishments and
yarns has to be tested, not enough testing facilities exist to make
it possible to comply with this law.
3. If the dyes are in compliance with the requirements, there
is no reason to test the finished product over and over again. The
added costs would have a huge negative impact on their commercial
4. Exposing small retailers to this level of liability
threatens the extinction of small business.
5. This law is poorly written and too broad to comply with
as it stands.
We urge you again to send a letter to your representatives as
soon as possible. Our voices must be heard in this matter. We can
make a difference in the outcome of this situation.
Sharon Garmize, Sharon G Needlepoint; Jim Bryson, Bryson
Distributing; and Hal Ozbelli, Universal Yarn
Product Safety in Europe
(Note: The following is written by Andrew Morgan, Director
of Global Manufacturing and Technology for Coats & Clark.)
The European Union has long had in place a legislative structure
designed to ensure that consumer products are safe. The umbrella
legislation is the General Product Safety Directive (GPSD), of which
the most recent version came into force in 2005, replacing the
earlier 1994 version. This covers all consumer products (new and
second hand) and puts a legal requirement on the producer and
distributor to ensure that the products are safe in normal use and
to inform consumers of potential hazards.
In addition to this there are product specific regulations where
greater detail on safety is required. Toys are covered by a specific
regulation (EN71) which includes a limit of 90ppm for migration of
lead. Clothing and crafts products are covered by the GPSD which
does not have a specific lead content limit, even when the products
are designed for use by children. This might appear to be lax but in
practice the correct interpretation of the GPSD for a general
article that is intended for use by children would entail ensuring
that it does meet the EN71 limits even though it is not a toy.
The legislation does not mandate any product testing requirement
but puts the responsibility on the producer and distributor to make
sure that products supplied are sufficiently tested to ensure
compliance. The local authorities have powers to check products in
the market, enter premises and seize documents, order product
recalls if necessary, and prosecute offenders (potential penalties
include fines and jail terms).
Overall I think that it is fair to say that there has been
relatively tight control over product safety in Europe for many
years and that producers and distributors are used to working with
these controls, whereas the introduction of CPSIA, and the way in
which the legislation has been drafted and implemented, have put a
lot of pressure on suppliers to U.S. consumers in a very tight
Australia has tended to follow EU legislation and recently
confirmed a 90ppm limit for lead in children's toys.
(Editor's Note: The Chinese toy situation continues,
however. The European Union recently released a report that the EU's
rapid alert system for non-food products, RAPEX, said 1,866 unsafe
products were reported in 2008, a 16% increase on the previous year.
Products from China accounted for 59% of the goods reported, up from
52% in 2007 and 49% in 2006. Toys made up almost a third of the
dangerous products recalled worldwide, CNN Money reported.)