Friday, January 09, 2009

New guidelines for children's products and used books

[This memo was sent from Home Educators Association of Virginia to alert home school families and anyone who sells used products of updated information from the government pertaining used children's products and used books.]

As a result of the outcry from citizens, small business owners, and non-profits, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has released an important memo on its policy for sellers of used children's products, including used books.

A Law Affecting Children's Items
The memo clarifies policy regarding the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act that affects selling children's items. According to this law, beginning February 10, 2009, products for children 12 years old and younger cannot be sold if they contain more than 600 parts per million (ppm) total lead. Children's products such as books that may contain lead in the paper or ink and are accessible to children through touch are included. The statute indicates that paint, coatings, or electroplating may not be considered a barrier that would make the lead content of a product inaccessible to a child.

Good News for Used Book Sellers
According to the new CPSC memo, the new safety law does not require resellers or sellers of used children's products to test products for compliance with the lead limit before they are sold.

"The new law requires that domestic manufacturers and importers certify that children's products made after February 10 meet all the new safety standards and the lead ban. Sellers of used children's products, such as thrift stores and consignment stores, are not required to certify that those products meet the new lead limits, phthalates standard or new toy standards.

"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."

As of August 14, 2008, it became unlawful to sell recalled products. All resellers should check the CPSC web site ( for information on recalled products before selling items for children 12 years old and younger.

New Book Sales Still in Limbo
New books printed prior to the ruling are also affected by the law changes. As the law is now written, new books in production are required to include a "lead-free" certification to be legal to sell. This will greatly affect booksellers at homeschool conventions and local curriculum fairs, as well as books sold on the Internet. It will also affect the availability of books for homeschoolers to purchase.

1) Contact your local representatives. For their contact information, enter your zip code at this website. Once you have found your representatives, click on "Issues & Legislation" for a sample letter.

2) E-mail or call the the office of the CPSC ombudsman at 888-531-9070.

3) Call 301-504-7923 and ask for Nancy Nord, the acting head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission; if she's busy, leave a message.

4) Make your voice heard by voting on this issue! The top 3 in each category will be presented to President-elect Obama.

ACT NOW before the February 10, 2009, deadline!

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