Congress Exempts Children's Books & Paper-Based Printed Materials from CPSIA; Industry Wins Freedom from New Environmental Regulation!
As background, the original CPSIA became law in 2008 as a reaction to a spate of incidents of lead-tainted children's products (mostly Chinese imports) being sold to consumers. The law narrowed limits of lead and phthalates allowable in children's products and also called for third-party testing, labeling and tracking systems, and safety certifications. While the original CPSIA was also a very bipartisan bill, it was a "kitchen sink" regulation that ensnared every possible product - furniture, textiles, bicycles, musical instruments, hair barrettes...and books, flash cards, maps, magazines and more - in addition to the original culprit: toys.
Many unintended consequences and market confusion occurred as the Consumer Product Safety Commission tried to implement the law causing CPSC to issue two one-year stays of implementation. CPSC called upon Congress to amend CPSIA to provide the Commission more discretion to apply the regulations and exempt products; CPSC also singled out particular product categories (including books) that were likely unintentionally regulated and could be excluded from the law. In heeding the call for more practical application of CPSIA, common-sense prevailed in the regulatory arena.
*Legislative Language (excerpted from H.R. 2715)
EXCLUSION FROM THIRD PARTY TESTING-
CERTAIN PRINTED MATERIALS-
IN GENERAL- The third party testing requirements established under subsection (a) shall not apply to ordinary books or ordinary paper-based printed materials.
(I) ORDINARY BOOK- The term `ordinary book' means a book printed on paper or cardboard, printed with inks or toners, and bound and finished using a conventional method, and that is intended to be read or has educational value. Such term does not include books with inherent play value, books designed or intended for a child 3 years of age or younger, and does not include any toy or other article that is not a book that is sold or packaged with an ordinary book.