The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission voted last month to lower limits on lead content in children’s goods, starting next month, while raising concerns about the costs to retailers who may have to dispose of inventory. The 3-2 vote came four years after the discovery of lead paint in toys from China that prompted legislation expanding the safety agency’s powers. The Commission followed its staff’s recommendation to lower the maximum acceptable lead content to 100 parts per million, from 300 parts per million. The new limits will take effect on August 14th. CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum said:
The scientific literature is abundant and has established there is no safe limit for lead. Technologically feasible does not mean economically feasible.
The 2008 Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act required the Commission to adopt the 100-part-per-million limit for children’s products unless it could establish it wasn’t technologically possible for manufacturers to reach that level. Even some Democrats who voted for the tougher limits said Congress should have given the Commission more flexibility to apply the standard only on new products, rather than on items already in store inventories.
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