On Aug. 14, 2009, new requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) take effect that are aimed at making children’s products safer and increasing consumer confidence in the marketplace. CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum said the CPSIA’s new requirements will be "enforced vigorously and fairly."

The requirements that are effective on Aug. 14 include:

  • Lead content: The limit for lead in children’s products drops from 600 parts per million (ppm) to 300 ppm. As of Aug. 14, it is unlawful to manufacture, import, sell, or offer for sale a children’s product that has more than 300 ppm of lead in any part (except electronics) that is accessible to children.
  • Lead in paint and similar surface coating materials: The limit for lead in paint and similar surface-coating materials for consumer use drops from 600 ppm to 90 ppm. The lead paint limits also apply to toys and other articles intended for children as well as certain furniture products. Products subject to these limits cannot be sold, offered for sale, imported or manufactured as of Aug. 14 unless they meet the new lower lead limits.
  • Civil penalties: Civil penalties increase substantially to a maximum of $100,000 per violation and up to a maximum of $15 million for a related series of violations. Previously, civil penalties were a maximum of $8,000 per violation and up to a maximum of $1.825 million for a related series of violations.
  • Tracking labels: Manufacturers must place permanent distinguishing marks (tracking label) on any consumer product primarily intended for children 12 and younger made on or after Aug. 14, 2009. The permanent marks must enable consumers to ascertain basic information, including the manufacturer or private labeler, location, the date of manufacture, and more detailed information on the manufacturing process such as a batch or run number. The permanent distinguishing marks must appear on the product itself and its packaging to the extent practicable.