All children’s products must meet a new, tougher lead standard by February 10th, regardless of when they were made, according to a legal opinion released by the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s general counsel. The opinion, which represents the agency’s official guidance to businesses, allows companies to sell off their existing inventory of soon-to-be banned products through that deadline. The new lead limit is part of a sweeping product safety measure that became law on August 14th. The law stipulates that by February 10th children’s products can not have a total lead content above 600 parts per million. Six months later, that limit drops to 300 ppm and then to 100 ppm in three years if feasible. After February 10, 2009, manufacturers and retailers will probably have to destroy products that don’t comply with the new limit.
The decision on whether the lead limit applies to existing inventory, written by CPSC General Counsel Cheryl Falvey, helps answer some of the questions that manufacturers and retailers have about what to do with products they made or purchased before August 14th. It also provides clarity for consumers who otherwise would have found it difficult to tell which toys met the new lower lead requirement and which did not. The decision won’t affect toys for sale this holiday shopping season.
In addition to setting a stricter lead limit, the product safety law also boosts funding and authority for the CPSC and bans certain types of phthalates, a chemical in plastic that has been linked to reproductive problems. Manufacturers have the same questions about whether the phthalate provisions apply retroactively. According to media reports, lawyers for businesses see the decision on lead as an indication of where the CPSC is likely to come down on phthalates.
Source: Washington Post
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