A new federal law aimed at protecting children from dangerous products is causing confusion. It is called the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act . As Liz Crenshaw reports tonight anyone selling children's products must comply with the law and that has thrift stores, online sellers and moms gearing-up for garage sales very worried.
Mariel Barnes, Herndon, VA
It's a wonderful yard sale that we have, it's open to the public, anyone can come and you can come and get youth clothing and toys at a very cheap prices.
MARIEL BARNES, MOTHER OF TWINS, IS PART OF A MOTHER'S OF MULTIPLES GROUP. IT HOLDS GIGANTIC CONSIGNMENT SALES TWICE YEAR.
We usually sell about 25 to 30,000 dollars at the sale and the group raise for us personally is about 6,000 and we are able to use that money in the community.
BUT A NEW LAW, THE CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY IMPROVEMENT ACT HAS HER GROUP WORRIED. CONGRESS PASSED THE LAW AFTER A RASH OF CHINESE-MADE TOYS WERE RECALLED IN 2007.
IT SAYS AFTER FEBRUARY TENTH, ALL ITEMS, NEW AND OLD, INTENDED FOR CHILDREN TWELVE AND YOUNGER CAN NOT BE SOLD IF THEY CONTAIN MORE THAN 600 PARTS PER MILLION LEAD. IF THEY CONTAIN POINT ONE PERCENT OF CERTAIN PHTHALATES OR IF THEY DON'T MEET NEW STANDARDS FOR TOYS. AND IT WILL BE ILLEGAL TO SELL ANY RECALLED ITEM.
Julie Vallese, CPSC
For the manufacturers and importers it means that they have to certify and test their products by an independent group to make sure that their product is complying with all the new laws that go along with children's products.
SO STORES LIKE WALMART AND TARGET MUST KNOW WHAT THEY ARE SELLING MEET THE NEW RULES. AND IF THE PRODUCTS ARE IN VIOLATION, THE STORES AND MANUFACTURERS WILL BE FINED. BUT WHAT ABOUT THRIFT STORES THAT SELL USED ITEMS, OR FOLKS SELLING ON EBAY OR IN YARD SALES?
It's a little bit unclear what we have to do, what we have to regulate, and we would just some guidance maybe items to look out for and what to highlight of what not to do.
BARNES SAYS SHE AND FAMILIES LIKE HERS KNOW DANGEROUS TOYS CAN BE ANYWHERE. SHE DISCOVERED HER OWN TODDLERS WERE PLAYING WITH BOOKS RECALLED AS A CHOKING HAZARD. SHE DOESN'T WANT HER GROUP'S HUGE YARD SALE TO PUT CHILDREN AT RISK, OR PUT THEMSELVES IN JEOPARDY OF FINES.
We are a bunch of mothers and we don't' like to be thought of as law breakers.
THE CPSC SAYS WHILE ALL SELLERS CAN BE FINED, IT IS GOING TO FOCUS WHERE THERE IS GREATEST RISK.
If you are a seller of a product you have an obligation to make sure that the product you are selling isn't in violation the law. the agency though, as limited in its resources as it is will be putting its effort to protect the most people in those places that will create the most harm.
I am a mother first and I don't any other child to be hurt.
One more note on all this. Liz reports due to the confusion over how to implement the testing portion of this new law, late Friday the Consumer Product Safety Commission delayed enforcement for lead content and phthaltes or one year.