US Consumer Product Safety Commission
Updated on 3/19/2012
Congress unanimously passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) aimed at protecting children 12 years of age and under from all products containing lead and pthalates, and we get numerous calls about it. You can read all about it here: http://www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/cpsia.html It was to take effect 2/10/09, then was postponed until 2/10/10, but testing and Certificate of Compliance (GCC) requirements were postponed again until 1/1/2012. Basically, the part that affects this business is that as of 2/10/09, you may not legally sell products for children 12 and under that contain phthalates (in some types of plastic) or more than 100 ppm lead.
While originally aimed at toys, but now apparently all inclusive for all children's products, it appears to be a very poorly written law (though well intentioned) which has already created much fear, confusion, and concern. Contrary to what other websites might be telling you, it is not just for "durable goods" or things with paint. You must read the whole thing, not just parts of it, to see that. What is clear already is that there are many exemptions and additions to the law, so you need to read it carefully and do your research. They do seem to be done revising it, and are now going to start enforcing it.
Understand that we are all still trying to understand this law and doing whatever we are supposed to do to be in compliance. Here is some information we think is useful and correct but we are not lawyers, nor do we have a "legal dept.", and so we encourage you to do your own research:
The law will apply only to products that are intended to be sold for use by children 12 years and under. If you are not selling products like that, it should not apply to you. You can forget about it. For example, we don't think a hand painted scarf or an adult tie dyed T-shirt is covered.
Another thing you need to know, especially if you are a crafter working out of your home, selling things on Etsy, craft shows and other informal venues, is that you can register with the CPSC as a small batch manufacturer - here is an article explaining it, but basically, if you do less than $1 million in yearly sales and produce less than 7,500 pieces of an item, you can register yourself with the the CPSC and not have to get 3rd party testing on everything you are making, depending what it is. You still have to be sure that items you are selling do not contain lead or phthalates. MSDS that already exist for dyes, paints and other craft chemicals have to list lead if it is present, so that is a good way to tell.
For us, we are going through our products, determining which might be used on children's products, and doing research. As we get more information, we will post it here. Those products, if any, which we determine to contain lead will be labeled: "Not for use on products for children 12 years and under". But basically, we are finding out that none of our products contain lead, with the exception of Swarovski Crystals (see below their statement about this) and the color Black in Jacquard Acid Dye, which is not normally used for children anyway, is minimal, and does not rub off on you from the dyed silk.
Un-dyed natural fabrics like cotton, silk, wool, etc. have been made exempt, as is clothing made with those fabrics and sewn with those threads. They have also now exempted dyed fabrics from the lab testing and Certificates of Compliance requirements, as they have finally figured out that dyes do not contain lead, so that is very good news for all of our customers who use our dyes. Our dye manufacturers have basically told us that since they do not market their dye to be used by children, they do not intend to have it tested for lead, as they have already gone to the expense of having it all tested to provide the MSDSs (Material Safety Data Sheets). However, the MSDS for dyes, or paints, or chemicals, have to indicate whether lead is present, so since they don't (with the one exception of Black Jacquard Acid Dye), and since dyed clothing is now exempt anyway, customers do not have to worry about the dye they use on children's clothing.
Clothing for those over 12 years is not involved.
Children's clothing which includes snaps and zippers have to use lead free ones. We have been assured by most of our manufacturers that the snaps or zippers in our infant and children's clothing are lead-free. We are waiting for documentation from each manufacturer to confirm that. We will post the documents here as we receive them, and also soon hope to post them on the appropriate product pages.
UPDATE: We have been assured by our Chinese manufacturer that the snaps in our baby clothing (one piece rompers etc) contain no lead. To further allay our concerns, we then sent samples of the snaps to be tested at a CPSIA approved lab that runs more sophisticated chemical testing, they passed with flying colors.
Our Fiber Reactive "Procion" Dyes, to the best of our knowledge, do not contain any lead. The MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) do not indicate the presence of any lead. Our manufacturer has told us that if lead is not listed on an MSDS, it means that if it is even present at all, it would be way under 100 ppm and more like a few ppb (parts per billion!). The CPSC has now made dyed fabrics exempt anyway. The really important thing to feel assured about is that once you have dyed something with Fiber Reactive dye, the dye is permanently bonded and does not come off, which actually makes it extra safe for children's clothing over other dyes.
Some of our other dyes already have the Non-Toxic certification which would indicate they are lead-free or also have such low levels that they are in total compliance with the new law. This is shown on the label, in the catalog, and on our web-site. NONE of the MSDS for ANY of our dyes indicate the presence of lead with the exception of one as mentioned above, black Jacquard brand Acid Dye for wool & silk. As we find more out about the dyes, we will post it here.
Most of our markers are also certified non-toxic. The MSDS on the markers also do not indicate the presence of lead. Those that are not certified non-toxic do not necessarily contain lead either. We are looking into them all. Below is what we have so far.
Again, almost all are Certified Non-Toxic. Those which are not, we are asking if they are lead free, but again, NO presence of lead is indicated on any of the MSDS for any of our Fabric Paints. As the paint manufacturers respond to our inquiries, we will report the responses below.
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