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New Safety Requirements for Children’s Products Became Effective August 14

On August 14, 2009, new requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) took effect. The requirements are intended to ensure that toys and other children’s products meet strict lead limits and can be properly tracked in the event of a recall. Among the requirements:

  • Lead Content: The limit for lead in children’s products drops from 600 parts per million (ppm) to 300 ppm. After August 14, it will be unlawful to manufacture, import, sell, or offer for sale, a children’s product that has more than 300 ppm of lead in any part (except electronics) that is accessible to children.
  • Lead in Paint and Similar Surface Coating Materials: The limit for lead in paint and similar surface-coating materials for consumer use drops from 600 ppm to 90 ppm. The lead paint limits also apply to toys and other articles intended for children as well as certain furniture products. Products subject to these limits cannot be sold, offered for sale, imported or manufactured after August 14 unless they meet the new lower lead limits.
  • Tracking Labels: Manufacturers must place permanent distinguishing marks (tracking label) on any consumer product primarily intended for children 12 and younger made on or after August 14, 2009. The permanent marks must enable consumers to ascertain basic information, including the manufacturer or private labeler, location, the date of manufacture, and more detailed information on the manufacturing process such as a batch or run number. The permanent distinguishing marks must appear on the product itself and its packaging to the extent practicable.
  • Catalog Advertising: Advertising for certain toys and games intended for use by children from three to six years old must have warnings regarding potential choking hazards to children younger than three. The requirement to include warnings in Internet advertisements went into effect on December 12, 2008. There was a grace period for the requirement for catalogues and other printed materials, but this grace period expired August 9, 2009. All catalogues and other printed materials distributed on or after August 9, 2009, regardless of when they were printed, must include the appropriate warnings.
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