CPSC issued an enforcement policy for lead in children’s products effective February 10, 2009. Under the policy, CPSC spells out guidelines for enforcement of the 600 ppm lead limit. Manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers should be aware that CPSC will not impose penalties against anyone for making, importing, distributing, or selling:
– children’s product to the extent that it is made of certain natural materials, such as wood, cotton, wool, or certain metals and alloys which the Commission has recognized rarely, if ever, contain lead;
– an ordinary children’s book printed after 1985; or
– dyed or undyed textiles (not including leather, vinyl or PVC) and non-metallic thread and trim used in children’s apparel and other fabric products, such as baby blankets.
The Commission states that they generally will not prosecute someone for making, selling or distributing items in these categories even if it turns out that such an item actually contains more than 600 ppm lead.
Sellers will not be immune from prosecution if CPSC’s Office of Compliance finds that someone had actualknowledge that one of these children’s products contained more than 600 ppm lead or continued to make, import, distribute or sell such a product after being put on notice.
CPSC staff will seek recalls of violative children’s products or other corrective actions, where appropriate.
The agency intends to issue interim rules this week covering lead in electronic products.
CPSC still expects companies to meet their reporting obligation under federal law and immediately tell the agency if they learn of a children’s product that exceeds the new lead limits starting on February 10, 2009.
This could lead to a significant number of product recalls starting this week.
A copy of the full CPSC press release can be found here: CPSC Press Release on Lead 2 6 09