In case you missed all of the hubub, a new consumer product safety law went into effect early this year making it illegal to sell toys and other children's products if the lead content exceeds 300 parts per million, or even lower for lead paint on products. (See these posts for background.)
The law came into effect following the recalls of millions of imported toys from China in recent years because of high lead content. The idea is to boost consumer confidence in the products on the store shelves by requiring manufacturers to prove that they are safe. But there is a loophole to the law that may tarnish that confidence.
The law requires products to be certified by independent, third-party labs. This certification requirement has been delayed until 2010 to give manufacturers and laboratories time to prepare. This is a good thing for the small businesses that are working hard to make sure they are in compliance with the new law, but it's not so great for parents who want to be sure the products on store shelves are safe.
According to Scott Wolfson, a spokesman for the Consumer Product Safety Commission (the government agency in charge of enforcing the new law,) all retailers and manufacturers are expected to follow the law despite the government stay on the certification requirement.
"It's very serious for somebody not to be compliant. These limits were put into place to give parents more confidence when they go shopping," he stated in an interview with NPR. "We know there are probably products out there that violate that new law. We're ready to act, but we need that information brought to our attention."
With the holiday season right around the corner, it's buyer beware for parents who want to make sure their kid's toys are safe.