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Will New Rules End Sales of Handmade and Used Children's Clothes and Toys?

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Will New Rules End Sales of Handmade and Used Children's Clothes and Toys?
Photo credit: Inti St. Clair/Getty Images

Lowdown on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act:

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act is a law Congress passed in 2008 in response to a string of recalls of contaminated products. The legislation requires testing of products and clothing for children 12 years and younger to ensure they are free of lead and phthalates, chemicals found in some plastics.

Retailers had worried the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act would effectively end secondhand and thrift store sales of used children's clothing and equipment because the shops can't afford independent testing. The commission on Jan. 8 clarified that resellers don't need to test children's products.

Here's What Happens Next:

Makers of handcrafted toys and other children's goods are still waiting for a decision on whether products made with natural materials, such as wood and wool, might be exempt as well. Some small businesses say their handmade toys are safe but testing is too costly.

The testing mandate will go into effect on Feb. 10, 2009. Critics are urging parents to contact their members of Congress or senators to seek a reprieve.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is accepting comments on the rule. However, the commission cannot change the requirements set forth by the law itself.

How You Can Get Involved:

If you have an opinion about the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, you can express it in a number of ways:


Sources: the Los Angeles Times, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the American Apparel and Footwear Association.

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