How you can comply now.
We all know about the new CPSIA law. Face it – it's not going away. It may be amended to make it easier and more cost effective for us to test or it may exempt certain classes of items, but until we receive word from the CPSC, we should go ahead and follow the letter of the law. So what can you do now to comply?
This new CPSIA law is a wake up call and an opportunity for home crafters to make sure our products are truly safe. We shouldn't be pushing for a small business exemption. We can't assume our products are lead free because without testing, we don't really know (we do know that the risk of having lead in textiles or untreated wood is very low but we have to prove it). Don't assume since you bought your supplies in the US, that they've been tested and are safe (most of them are imported anyway). The CPSC doesn't care that you are a one-woman show and that you don't want to hurt anyone. They made a blanket law to cover the bases and expect you to follow it.
Here is a nice presentation and break down of the law.. http://nsf.org/business/toy_testing/presentations.asp?program=ToyTes
On February 10, 2009, you will need to prove the items you sell fall below the 600 ppm requirement for lead testing. If your product falls under a current guideline or ban (like pajamas, loungewear or drawcords for example) you need the General Certificate of Conformity now. (Here is what the CPSC wants on the Certificate: http://www.cpsc.gov/ABOUT/Cpsia/faq/elecertfaq.pdf) It looks like you need to have one on hand for each unique item you produce but I'm not completely sure. You don't have to send it to the CPSC if you sell direct to the consumer but must keep it on file for 3 years. The certificate must accompany each shipment to a wholesale buyer.
Now the CPSC allows a “reasonable" method of testing until August 16, 2009 (or as it seems, March 2009 for metal jewelry?), when you will have to have your items tested by a 3rd party CPSC approved lab. One “reasonable" method seems to be the use of an XRF analyzer. I know Jennifer Taggert of The Smart Mama is offering to test your items for a small fee. There may be other offers as well and I can keep a list as I hear about them.
At the very least contact your supplier or the manufacturer and ask if they have run lead tests. If it is a fabric supplier ask for flammability tests as well. Get those emailed, faxed or sent to you and keep for your files.
Now phthalates are another matter. You must get any items containing plastics tested if it is a toy or child care article for children 12 and younger. According to the CPSC “a children's toy" means a product intended for a child 12 years of age or younger for use when playing, and a “child care article" means a product that a child 3 and younger would use for sleeping, feeding, sucking or teething." Here's the link: http://www.cpsc.gov/ABOUT/Cpsia/faq/108faq.html I don't know much about this part of the law but I know it may apply to some of you if you make bibs, pacifiers, footed pajamas, crib bedding, or if you embellish clothing/accessories using puffy paint or iron-on decals and obviously toys. Anything that may contain plastic.
There is no easy testing method for testing phthalates right now short of sending your items to a lab. Third party testing is required in August 2009 and there is a list of phthalates that are banned on February 10, 2009. However, according to the CPSC, you can still sell your existing inventory after February 10 but you can no longer manufacture products that contain phthalates.
Oh and don't forget about the new tracking labels that need to be applied to every product. Again, I don't know much about them but there is a great article here: http://www.fashion-incubator.com/archive/cpsia-and-tracking-label-requirements/
We still need to fight the law though. The National Association of Manufacturers has put together a very comprehensive plan for the CPSIA. You can read it here: http://www.toyassociation.org/AM/PDFs/Safety/CPSCPetition1208.pdf. It's a very good plan and a great compromise. Kathleen of Fashion Incubator is encouraging everyone to print this letter and mail it with a statement of your support. The CPSC needs to know.