A peek at what we make
*Edit* January 10, 2012: With this entry still garnering lots of hits I want to point out there have been MANY changes to the CPSIA and subsequent guidance issued by the CPSC. For up-to-date info, please visit www.cpsc.gov.
For anybody who isn’t familiar with Snopes.com, it’s an interesting site. They search for facts on urban legends and rumors, then say if those rumors are True or False. I have personally used their site on numerous occasions, but after what I read today, Snopes is dead to me.
Snopes chose to “fact check” the claims of the CPSIA making it illegal to sell used and second hand children’s items. I’m using “fact check” loosely here, folks, because Snopes said it is False! They Quote this line from a recent CPSC release:
Sellers of used children’s products, such as thrift stores and consignment stores, are not required to certify that those products meet the new lead limits, phthalates standard or new toy standards.
The problem here, is that in the same release the CPSC goes on to say the following:
However, resellers cannot sell children’s products that exceed the lead limit and therefore should avoid products that are likely to have lead content, unless they have testing or other information to indicate the products being sold have less than the new limit. Those resellers that do sell products in violation of the new limits could face civil and/or criminal penalties.
So the CPSC has basically said ‘Hey, it’s OK to break the law, as long as you don’t get caught’. What?! When is it EVER OK to break the law?
Furthermore, Snopes makes an incorrect statement about pre-existing inventory. For clarification I will tell you the law first, as it is written under the CPSIA. No pre-existing inventory can be sold as of February 10th if they are not proven to meet the lead requirements. However, pre-existing inventory that contains phthalates are still OK to sell as of the same date. Here is what Snopes had to say on this:
The new law requires that domestic manufacturers and importers certify that children’s products made after 10 February 2009 meet all new safety standards and comply with the lead ban.
You see the difference between the actual law and what they’ve written? Well one would think ‘Hey, let’s contact them and let them know about the inaccuracies of their article’, but guess what? Fashion Incubator , the group widely credited with raising the most awareness on the CPSIA impact to begin with, reports people have already tried this.
Snopes has refused to change their article.
Knowing what I do about the CPSIA and the comments Snopes made has led me to feel I can no longer view them as the wonderful debunking crew I once thought they were.
If a reseller of children’s clothes uses their article as legal advice and winds up getting fined, I would not at all be surprised to see Snopes being sued.