Many small business are following the developments of CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act), the rules for safe children’s products that were developed after the lead scare a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, the way the rules read makes it harder (if not impossible) for small businesses to comply.
Generally, anyone who makes a children’s product for use by a child 12 and under, must comply with the rules of CPSIA. This includes toys, clothes, jewelry and furniture. (for a complete list please visit http://www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/cpsia.html)
For the convenience of readers, also linked are the guidelines for small businesses. http://www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/smbus/manufacturers.html#q4
There are exemptions, or materials that may be used without necessitating testing for lead. These include:
- Other natural materials such as coral, amber, feathers, fur, leather, etc.
- Paper and other materials made from wood or cellulosic fiber
- Dyed or undyed textiles (cotton, wool, hemp, nylon, yarn, etc.), including children’s fabric products, such as baby blankets, and non-metallic thread and trim.
- Precious gemstones: diamond, ruby, sapphire or emeralds
- Semiprecious stones provided that the mineral or material is not based on lead and is not associated with any mineral based on lead
- Natural or cultured pearls
The complete list is found in Table B of the CPSIA small business guidelines page.
In related news, Mattel, the company that was a large part of the CPSIA frenzy is exempt from the MANDATED third party testing of their products. They are permitted to test their products in house. In theory it was Mattel’s own labs that missed the lead content of their toys before the recalls, so it seems strange that the CPSIA would allow them to continue to test in house or even approve the exemption. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100423/ap_on_go_ot/us_toy_testing_mattel. There is no publically available information about this agreement on the CPSIA or CPSC websites.