Monday, November 24, 2008

CPSIA - Sneaking up on us?

On Friday we received a rather interesting email from Amazon related to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act - which was signed into law last August. Here is what was so interesting:

  1. I hadn't even heard of this before - and haven't heard anyone speak of it, or its implications for book publishers.
  2. Amazon sent this email out to publishers on Friday, and wanted a response the same day.
  3. Last week (and even this morning) the BISAC Metadata committee had a virtual discussion about some of these issues, and are trying to rush putting 'hazard warnings' into the standards for ONIX - the standard that most publishers use to communicate product information to Amazon and others.
  4. We didn't receive any notices like this from any other retailers.

I wonder how anyone will comply with all this in such a short timeframe. Here is the text of the email:

Dear Amazon Vendor
This message outlines the steps will require vendors to take to confirm their compliance with new product safety regulations affecting childrens products.

We will need your response via e-mail on two issues by November 21, 2008: (1) product safety cautionary statements regarding choking hazards of childrens toys and games, and (2) lead and phthalate limits that will be phased in on all childrens products.

These issues are described in further detail below, along with information about what you need to do to ensure that the compliance of your products offered on

The U.S. House and Senate have passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (the Act), and on August 14, 2008, President Bush signed the Act into law.

We expect that all vendors will ensure that their products are compliant with the Act in accordance with all applicable effective dates. Specific provisions of the Act discussed in this letter are for ease of reference only. Specific provisions of the Act discussed in this letter are for ease of reference only. Further information on the Act is available on the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) website at

Vendors are responsible for thoroughly familiarizing themselves with all the requirements of the Act. We would, however, like to take this opportunity to draw your attention to two issues of particular importance to

1. Cautionary Statements in Internet Advertisements
Section 105 of the Act requires manufacturers, importers and distributors to provide retailers with appropriate cautionary statements relating to the choking hazards of childrens toys and games. These cautionary statements are defined in Section 105 of the Act and Section 24 of the Federal Hazardous Substances Act. They must be displayed on the product packaging and in certain online and catalog advertisements.

What you need to do
You are responsible for determining if a cautionary statement applies to the product. This can be verified by contacting the product manufacturer or checking the product packaging. has created a data field for such cautionary statements among the product attributes supplied to us by vendors. In order to enter cautionary statements applicable to each of your products, please download the spreadsheet CPSIA Vendor Spreadsheet in the Resource Center of Vendor Central. Follow the instructions located in this file to download your items from Vendor Central, complete, and return as an attachment to an e-mail addressed to Vendors must supply with an appropriate cautionary statement (or certify that no such statements are applicable) for each applicable product no later than November 21, 2008. Cautionary statements that you select will be displayed on the product detail page.

If none of your products are subject to a cautionary statement, reply to the following statement We, [Vendor Name], certify that no cautionary statement under Section 105 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 is applicable to any product sold or furnished by us.

Please include your vendor name in the subject line of your e-mail to us when you respond in any case. Any products for which the applicable cautionary statements are not received (or certified as non-applicable) are subject to removal from the site, and will be entitled to return any inventory of such products to you for a full refund.

2. Product Content Limits
The Act prescribes strict limits on the content of certain materials in products intended for children, including lead and phthalates. In particular:
Effective February 10, 2009, the Act prohibits the sale of childrens toys and child care articles with concentrations of more than 0.1 percent of di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP), diisononyl phthalate (DINP), diisodecyl phthalate, (DIDP), or di-n-octyl phthalate (DnOP).

The Act mandates a phased-in ban on lead in substrate for all childrens products, requiring that lead levels be reduced to a maximum of 600 parts per million by February 10, 2009; 300 parts per million by August 14, 2009; and 100 parts per million by August 14, 2011. Electronic devices and inaccessible component parts will be subject to rules to be issued by August 14, 2009.
The Act also reduces permissible lead in paint content from 0.06 percent to 0.009 percent (effective August 14, 2009), which may be lowered further by administrative action.

What you need to do
We expect that vendors will familiarize themselves with the effective dates of each applicable limit. In order to minimize the difficulty of tracking multiple versions of the same product through the supply chain, it is highly advisable for manufacturers to promptly eliminate or phase-out product offerings which do not or will not comply with the most restrictive limits described above, well before such limits take effect.

If all of your products are compliant with the lead and phthalate limits according to the table below, reply to with the following statement We, [Vendor Name], certify that all of our products are compliant with the lead and phthalate limits effective as of August 14, 2011 as defined by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008.
If some of your products are not compliant by any of the dates below, you must complete the spreadsheet located in the Resource Center of Vendor Central, as stated above. Only one spreadsheet needs to be completed.

As of each date set forth in Column III of the table below, each vendor must confirm and report to that all of your childrens products (i) in Amazon.coms inventory, as reported to you in Vendor Central as of such date, and (ii) in transit or shipped to on or after such date, will comply with applicable limits set forth in Column I.

Effective Date of Limit per the Act
Products shipped to must comply by
Noncompliant products are subject to return to Vendor
Lead 600 ppm
February 10, 2009
November 30, 2008
January 10, 2009
Phthalate ban
February 10, 2009
November 30, 2008
January 10, 2009
Lead 300 ppm
August 14, 2009
April 14, 2009
July 1, 2009
Lead paint 0.009
August 14, 2009
April 14, 2009
July 1, 2009
Lead 100 PPM
August 14, 2011
February 14, 2011
July 1, 2011

Please put your vendor name in the subject field of the email when you respond in any case.

If you do not provide the information requested by the dates provided in Column III, you are representing and warranting that all of your products shipped to prior to such date are fully compliant with the applicable limits. will be entitled to rely on such representation. Nevertheless, any childrens products for which you have not provided affirmative confirmation of compliance are subject to removal from the catalog at any time, and will be entitled to return to you for a full refund (including shipping costs) any non-compliant products which remain in our inventory as of the dates in Column IV above.

In order to minimize difficulties in inventory compliance tracking, any products which are altered to comply with a limit described in the Act must have a distinct SKU number from previous versions. These changes must be reported to along with a return authorization for any inventory of previous versions.

The Act provides that the CPSC may issue regulations providing for further limitations on the content of childrens products. Vendors are responsible for tracking and complying with any regulations issued by the CPSC.

We are confident that you share our commitment to ensure the full compliance with the Act of all of your products sold on

Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.



kathleen said...

Hi Fran
This has flown under the radar and has far greater implications than is apparent -at least for manufacturers. You can see more on my blog:

Michael Covington said...


ECPA has begun initial conversations with the AAP about educating the publishing universe in regards to this new law. What would seem to be prudent would be to determine if some type of batch testing could be conducted in order to defray the cost of each publisher testing every book that is produced. Also, the CPSIA seems to mainly target toys and products that are most likely to contain lead and certain types of PVC, specifically for products geared toward children. We will continue to investigate and report as we know more.

Anonymous said...

There is great concern among children's products manufacturers & importers (both large & small) about the tremendous cost required to comply with this law. It is a real threat to the survival of some of our best, innovative (and safest) suppliers of children's products.

Find out more at:

CraftyChefGraphics said...

This should be of great concern to everyone, not just manufacturers of children's products. As a consumer and small business owner, the thought of increased prices, fewer dollars to spread around, businesses closing their doors, increased unemployment...well it doesn't bode well for my business either.

If anyone is interested in getting on an organized call list to select members of the sub committee responsible plus the house majority and the head advocate of junk piling your inventory, please sign in to the volunteer thread here: said...

What will happen to the supply chain when all the big box stores send letters like this out to their suppliers, and insist on returning inventory that meets standards, but cannot be tested, whether due the simple impossibility of testing each sku or the astronomical cost of testing each sku.
Wouldn't it be nice to see some of the large retailers stand up and speak out against this terribly flawed law, instead of passing the buck back to their suppliers?

sent from:

Anonymous said...

You're now linked through this book shop blog article Plus I've submitted it to StumbleUpon, so hopefully it'll generate some additional attention for the subject.

Most book store owners and libraries will be absolutely blindsided by this law.

Anonymous said...

Certainly the most chillingly Orwellian move I've heard yet. What an opportunity to further control the world in a literal and profound way then to eliminate so much of the past.
I think we can stop it but we need to act now.

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