Thursday, March 25, 2010

CPSIA and How It Affects You

I don't know how many of you have been worried about the new government regulations imposed by the CPSIA laws that are being applied to items manufactured for children under the age of thirteen, but I have been more than a little panicky about the entire thing.

Today on Etsy, the CPSA held a video/audio presentation and then a (very, unnecessarily) short Q&A session in the Virtual Labs.

At this time, the only products I make and sell intended for the use of children are my knitted items, and as my question pertaining to this was answered, I learned that while yarns, whether synthetic or not (wool, cotton, bamboo, etc) are considered exempt from the imposed rules, they are not exempt from flammability rules. Acrylic and other synthetic materials are not considered flammable, despite the fact that they melt. Personally, I'd rather my kid's clothing caught on fire and could be ripped away from their skin than melted to them on instant heat contact, but I suppose what I think doesn't matter to the government. In fact, I'm sure of it.

Normally, you don't really have to worry about synthetic materials being exposed to a high enough heat source to burn your kids, but I do make sure than when traveling commercially my kids only wear natural fibers that won't melt to them. I learned that this was a smart thing to do when reading about a woman that was in a plane crash: She wasn't actually injured, but her panty hose melted to her legs and caused second and third degree burns. Yeowch.

Other things I learned today are that untreated wood products are also exempt from these rules, but surface treatments, such as paints and stains, must be provably compliant with these new regulations. CMYK paints are also considered exempt, but I'm not sure of this extent.

Getting down to it, I still find most of the language, and even many of the answers we received in the chat (not nearly enough) to be confusing and shrouded in layman mystery.

Through the video presentation, we were directed on how to find this page on the CPSA website. Apparently, it is one of the "secrets" of the site. Why it should be hard enough to find to be considered secret is beyond me in light of the fact that so many people are confused about what these regulations mean for their small business.

Here's that link for you again:

Apparently, the information on this page should address most (or all?) of your questions regarding manufacturing, products, imports, supplies, suppliers, third party testing labs, labeling, etc. I haven't had a chance to really go through it myself, but I'm thinking I should dedicate a little time every day to this in order to be sure that I understand (or at least, am thoroughly confused and question ridden) what it is their trying to punish- I mean tell us.

The Question and Answer chat hosted by Etsy today (March 25, 2010) in the Virtual Labs is supposed to be available for review. I'll be posting a link to that as soon as I know where it is. I just checked the forums and the thread ( for that hasn't been updated with the chat transcript yet. However, if you click on the link I just provided, you should be able to follow along with whatever new information is presented.

Here are some more (potentially) helpful links for you in case you have any more questions, which I'm sure you do if you manufacture and sell items for children at all.

CPSIA: Join CPSC Officials for a Chat With Sellers on The Storque

Official Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act Website

Power Point CPSIA Document for Download

PDF CPSIA Document for Download

You may have to actually download these documents to your computer in order to view them in the appropriate program, as the files are large and may be blocked by your browser or computer security system.

That's really all the information I can think to provide you with at this time. I hope it's helped to answer some of your questions or at least to point you in the right direction.

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