Friday, October 2, 2009

2008 Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) and Charitable Resale Stores

The 2008 Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) was signed into law just over a year ago on August 14, 2008. This law was noteworthy in setting new limits for lead content in children’s products, including children’s toys, clothing and books. Selling any recalled products (for adults or children) is now unlawful. Additionally, certain chemicals found in plastics (phthalates) are prohibited in certain toys and child care articles. New products that comply with the new standards must now be certified and labeled accordingly in order to verify products that are CPSIA compliant.

It is important to note that the CPSIA also prohibits the sale of products that exceed the law’s new standards, including products manufactured long before the CPSIA was enacted. Although the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has confirmed that the law’s testing requirements do not apply to resellers, a reseller cannot knowingly sell products that do not meet the CPSIA standards. The CPSIA applies to all “resellers,” which include nonprofit social service providers that support their mission by selling donated goods in thrift stores.

A current effort by the CPSC, the “Resale Round-up,” is aimed particularly at enforcing the prohibition on the sale of recalled products. As part of this effort, the Commission recently issued a Handbook for Resale Stores and Product Resellers (pdf) in order to help resale and thrift stores and charities that operate them comply with the CPSIA. There is also copious information on the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website (, including further details of what can't be sold by resale stores under the new law.

Walter Olsen at Overlawyered has been critical of the many impractical and burdensome aspects of the CPSIA and has extensively blogged on the issue.

No comments: