Update on Illegal Toys (…Clothes, Books, etc.)

By , January 22, 2009 11:05 pm

See this cute thrift store British guards pull toy that my 3 year-old loves?  (Made in England)

It was given to her by my thrift store-loving British Dad.

After February 10th, it will [might??] be illegal.

A quick update on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) situation:

  • As of today, there are 18 days until mandatory toy compliance certification is requested.  Only 18 more days of legal Etsy, of legal thrift stores, of legal used books (even library books), of legal thrift store clothing, of legal garage sale toys, books, clothes… [???? See NOTE below???] The scope is potentially HUGE.  It’s not just toys.

  • Ugh.


If you are wondering what the heck I am talking about, here is a brief summary:

In August 2008 Congress passed the CPSIA with the goal of improving toy safety. It bans lead and phthalates from toys and children’s products and also mandates lots of extra testing and labeling. Well, the thought is nice, but in reality only large corporations will be able to afford the certification required. There is no exception for hand-crafted toys, or toys already certified under strict European standards.

The statute is overly broad and will effectively prohibit the sale of handmade toys in the United States. Even German toymaker Selecta has decided that the new law is too burdensome and has already withdrawn from the U.S. market.

If you want to, you can read more about this issue in these posts of mine:

Auf Wiedersehen Selecta (…Good-Bye Hand-Crafted Toys?)

Our Last Selecta Toy


NOTE: Thanks to alert reader Erika (I sound like Dave Barry) for pointing out my failure to completely do my homework.  On January 8th the CPSC published a clarification which apparently exempts resellers from the testing requirement.  So thrift stores, garage sales, used book stores and the like should be OK as long as they avoid selling “products that are likely to have lead content.” Here is the exact paragraph:

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.

It is still a bit troubling to me.  If I sell some antique toys to collectors on Ebay and one of those toys, unbeknownst to me, contains lead, will I be in violation of the law?  My interpretation of this is yes.  Hmmm….


3 Responses to “Update on Illegal Toys (…Clothes, Books, etc.)”

  1. Erika says:

    The CPSIA announced that this new law won’t apply to thrift stores:

  2. Mom Unplugged says:

    Thanks for pointing that out Erika. I obviously should have done my homework a bit better on this one! I couldn’t get your link to work, but I did find the actual notice from the CPSC and I still think there is potential liability for resellers, although they are exempt from testing. What a messy situation! Thanks again for the helpful comment!

  3. Thanks so much for helping to spread the word. For what it’s worth yes, the resellers still feel unconvinced because the cpsc is essentially telling them “we won’t come after you” which is not the same as “you are exempt from the law.”
    Also books are not officially exempt as evidenced by this article today from the American Library Assn: http://www.wo.ala.org/districtdispatch/?p=1573

    I love those etsy posts. My favorite though is still the $15,610 kids dress

    Liz from Cool Mom Pickss last blog post..A baby changing pad that stays clean? Well, pretty much. Yeah.

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