Friday, January 9, 2009

Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act

There is a new law going into effect February 10, 2009 called the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. Its intent is to restructure and strengthen regulations regard products designed for and marketed to children ages 12 and under.

I was made aware of this issue a few weeks ago and since then have been trying to understand how this regulation affects the products I make. Most vulnerable, I believe, are my lobsters. To people in Maine and those connected to it, the lobsters are a reminder of this beautiful state...souvenirs...collectibles for people of all ages. Most of the lobsters I sell actually go to adults for adults. To what extent the lobsters are considered "toys" by the CPSC is something I'm still trying to find out. My goal is to continue carrying the lobsters, though some changes in design and marketing may be forthcoming.

I did add to my product list "lobsters okay for babies" the end of last year. These are made from recycled fleece and come without antennae. If I am to keep offering lobsters okay for babies, they will need to meet the requirements of CPSIA.

I am in support of regulations that make our children's products safer. I am, also, confused about how CPSIA affects my business and what exactly I am to do in order to either meet the requirements or adapt my current products to be suitable for an older audience (ages 13 and up). I am not the only one confused about this. In the home-based and small business community, there is a lot of "buzz" about this issue. Some of it true, a lot of it hype and rumor. I know I am not the only person calling for clarification of this law.

After hearing nothing back from my state and federal legislators (so far), I finally received help through the Maine Women's Lobby. They are helping me sort fact from fiction and have agreed to assist me in understanding how this regulation applies to my business. From them, I received a letter dated 1/7/09, the latest action by national groups trying to get answers from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). It is a very good letter urging the CPSC to rule quickly on the regulations and provide clarification and guidance to business owners. It heartens me to know there are people and organizations working on the behalf of small businesses like mine to bring structure to this process.

I will keep you posted on what the CPSIA means for my business and the products I bring to the market place.


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