Update: Children’s Book Publishing and the CPSIA

Children's book publishers and their representatives have been urgently advocating for an exemption from the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), the requirements of which were to go into effect February 10, 2009. On Friday January 30, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission voted unanimously to issue a one year stay of enforcement for certain testing and certification requirements which had been part of CPSIA.

CPSIA was enacted last August in response to reports of high lead content in imported toys manufactured in China. The law imposes stringent requirements for lead-content testing of toys and other children's products. CPSIA had the potential to have serious, if unintended consequences for children's book publishing.

The stay of enforcement provides relief from some of the requirements which were to be enforced beginning next week. The stay pushes the enforcement of these requirements back to February 10, 2010. At that point, the Commission will vote on whether or not to terminate the stay, after it has had more time to consider whether any products will be exempted from the act. According to the press release, the stay requires that, "Manufacturers and importers – large and small – of children's products will not need to test or certify to these new requirements, but will need to meet the lead and phthalates limits, mandatory toy standards and other requirements."

Several publishers had been contacted in early November by retailers, indicating that if presses did not certify their books as meeting the new CPSIA lead-content limitations, those books would be removed from the retailers' inventory. It is uncertain as to how much relief this stay will provide to publishers, as Allan Adler explained in Publisher's Weekly: "Whether or not this gives us more breathing room really depends on the reaction of the distribution chain to this stay."

Read the press release from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml09/09115.html

In Publisher's Weekly: http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6633893.html?nid=2286&source=link&rid=1160192508

The presentation made by the AAP group on behalf of publishers to the Commission on January 22 can be viewed here: http://www.cpsc.gov/ABOUT/Cpsia/publishers.html