CPSIA: “Kids’ Closet” no more

Kids’ used winter coats would have come in handy right about now: as part of his “CPSIA Casualty of the Week” series, Rick Woldenberg profiles Kids’ Closet of Rochester, Illinois, whose owner describes the law’s “devastating” effects on her shop. More on CPSIA and resale here.


  • Did I miss something? The article says:

    While the Consumer Product Safety Commission has temporarily stayed requirements for testing and certifying products, all resale shops still must comply with the new lead and phthalate standards. Realistically, resale shops cannot be 100 percent certain that the used items meet the new requirements.

    Can you tell us about the “stayed requirement for testing and certifying?” Is this true? That would mean that only resale shops are affected, and new manufactures are exempt?

  • What this means is that, temporarily, resale shops don’t have to obtain third-party testing to certify their items comply. They are still on the hook if something, whether it’s a coat or a toy, test above the new legal lead limits. New manufactured items are usually produced in bulk whereas resale shops have one of an item, making it impossible for resale shops to have each of their items tested prior to selling. See, the process of testing destroys the item tested. What would be left to sell?

    With the CPSIA being so fluid, the rules changing day to day, some sellers are afraid to carry children’s items on the chance that a new change they hadn’t yet heard about results in them being in big legal trouble.

  • The CPSC has postponed (not done away with) most of the onerous testing requirements which has provided a temporary stay of execution for many smaller manufacturers (assuming they can cope with the tracking label rules and other regulatory burdens that have not been stayed). Resellers are in a different position: mandatory testing did not apply to them but the other aspects of the law place them under extreme pressure for reasons Aria mentioned (they don’t know whether some buckle, snap or grommet on an old item contains some infinitesimal but unlawful quantity of lead, so it’s safer not to sell).

  • New manufacturers are also still required to comply, they just don’t have to test. However, as a retailer I do not buy product unless it is cpsia compliant. So… manufacturers may have a “stay” but their reality is retailers will not invest unless the know because retailers are also held liable in the lovely “piece of work” known as the CPSIA.