Do the New CPSI and HR 4040 Lead Rules Affect California Crafters and Artists?

March 2009

Many crafters and artists are concerned, if not down-right scared, about the new the New CPSI and HR 4040 lead rules and about what effect they will have on their crafting and art businesses in California. Though, implementation of the regulations have been postponed for at least a year, there are many bloggers and even news people who make it seem as though these laws will put small business California crafters and artists out of business; but is that true? After all, these laws were created because the big toy makers have been importing dangerous toys from China and not to punish makers of hand-made toys in the US. The truth is that much of the hubbub over the new laws is unwarranted. The main purpose of these laws is to stop dangerous toys from being imported from other countries. Imported toys alone need to get the testing certificates—which can be quite expensive—to ensure that their lead levels are safe and that the toys don't contain phthalates. Crafters in California too will be required to create toys that are free from these materials, but they do not need the testing certificates in order to sell their toys in the United States or to keep them from becoming "illegal contraband" as many bloggers on the topic are claiming. There are other ways in which the new CPSI and HR 4040 lead rules affect California crafters who create toys intended for children under 5. They will be required to keep a record of all these customers and provide a self-addressed stamped envelope to each one for "product registration" in case of recalls. This shouldn't be seen as an inconvenience because it can actually help improve customer service and follow-up which means more money for California crafters and artists in the long run. The last two items that affect California crafters should not be seen as a problem either. For instance, every toy sold should have a tag that has the crafter's name and contact info. This can improve customer service and sales and no product may contain a tag mentioning the CPSI and HR 4040 laws unless they are in compliance with them. A good idea would be to use only materials that are known to be free of lead and phthalates and to include a tag that says, “made exclusively in California with materials that are free from lead and phthalates." It would most probably boost sales as well since people are wary of foreign toys and these harmful substances. For more information, you should really read the law yourself to understand its various implications.

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