Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Big Trouble on the Publishing Front

Ever hear of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008? If not, you need to read it and understand that, as of next month, the world of publishing, especially children's books will change. It also means that anything in your home that children touch can be illegal.

Here is what sent 4RV Publishing:

The U.S. House and Senate have passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (the 'Act'), and on August 14, 2008, President Bush signed the Act into law.

We expect that all vendors will ensure that their products are compliant with the Act in accordance with all applicable effective dates. Specific provisions of the Act discussed in this letter are for ease of reference only. Specific provisions of the Act discussed in this letter are for ease of reference only. Further information on the Act is available on the Consumer Product Safety Commission ('CPSC') website at

Product Content Limits

The Act prescribes strict limits on the content of certain materials in products intended for children, including lead and phthalates. In particular:
* Effective February 10, 2009, the Act prohibits the sale of children's toys and child care articles with concentrations of more than 0.1 percent of di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP), diisononyl phthalate (DINP), diisodecyl phthalate, (DIDP), or di-n-octyl phthalate (DnOP).
* The Act mandates a phased-in ban on lead in substrate for all children's products, requiring that lead levels be reduced to a maximum of 600 parts per million by February 10, 2009; 300 parts per million by August 14, 2009; and 100 parts per million by August 14, 2011. Electronic devices and inaccessible component parts will be subject to rules to be issued by August 14, 2009.
* The Act also reduces permissible lead in paint content from 0.06 percent to 0.009 percent (effective August 14, 2009), which may be lowered further by administrative action.

What you need to do

We expect that vendors will familiarize themselves with the effective dates of each applicable limit. In order to minimize the difficulty of tracking multiple versions of the same product through the supply chain, it is highly advisable for manufacturers to promptly eliminate or phase-out product offerings which do not or will not comply with the most restrictive limits described above, well before such limits take effect.

Follow the instructions located in this file, download and complete the spreadsheet and return it to us as an attachment to a Contact Us form, using Issue: Item Detail Page; Subissue: Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.

If all of your products are compliant with the lead and phthalate limits according to the table below, submit a Contact Us, using the instructions above, with the following statement 'We, [Vendor Name], certify that all of our products are compliant with the lead and phthalate limits effective as of August 14, 2011 as defined by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008.'

If some of your products are not compliant by any of the dates below, you must complete the spreadsheet located in the Resource Center of Vendor Central, as stated above. Only one spreadsheet needs to be completed.

As of each date set forth in Column III of the table below, each vendor must confirm and report to that all of your children's products (i) in's inventory, as reported to you in Vendor Central as of such date, and (ii) in transit or shipped to on or after such date, will comply with applicable limits set forth in Column I.

Specific Guidelines:
Limit Phthalate ban:
Effective Date of Limit per the Act 10-Feb-09; Products shipped to must comply by 30-Nov-08; Noncompliant products are subject to return to Vendor 15-Jan-09

Lead 600 ppm:
Effective Date of Limit per the Act 10-Feb-09; Products shipped to must comply by 30-Nov-08; Noncompliant products are subject to return to Vendor 15-Jan-09

Limit Lead 300 ppm:
Effective Date of Limit per the Act 14-Aug-09; Products shipped to must comply by 14-Apr-09; Noncompliant products are subject to return to Vendor 1-Jul-09

Limit Lead paint 0.009:
Effective Date of Limit per the Act 14-Aug-09; Products shipped to must comply by 14-Apr-09; Noncompliant products are subject to return to Vendor 1-Jul-09

Limit Lead 100 ppm:
Effective Date of Limit per the Act 14-Aug-11; Products shipped to must comply by 14-Feb-11; Noncompliant products are subject to return to Vendor 1-Jul-11

Please put your vendor name in the subject field of the email when you respond in any case.

Any children's products which are not so confirmed are subject to removal from the catalog, and will be entitled to return to you for a full refund (including shipping costs) any non-compliant products which remain in our inventory as of the dates in Column IV above.

In order to minimize difficulties in inventory compliance tracking, any products which are altered to comply with a limit described in the Act must have a distinct SKU number from previous versions. These changes must be reported to along with a return authorization for any inventory of previous versions.

The Act provides that the CPSC may issue regulations providing for further limitations on the content of children's products. Vendors are responsible for tracking and complying with any regulations issued by the CPSC.

We are confident that you share our commitment to ensure the full compliance with the Act of all of your products sold on

Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.

Best Regards,

Next post: What does this mean to small publishers and others (even authors) who sell children's books?



Nocturnal Intellect said...

All this doesn't sound too good. I have very little knowledge on printing etc. but sounds like things are going to change and not for the better.

Vivian Zabel said...

You are so correct, and I'm concerned because my publishing company is involved, as are all presses.

Oh, I love the photo.

Karen and Robyn - Writing for Children said...

I thought this was pertained primarily to manufactures of toys and such which is a good thing. I didn't realize it will effect book printing also. I'm not sure what the purpose here is unless their afraid children will eat the printed paper. This actually isn't that far fetched when you think about all the things young children put in their mouths!

Rena said...

This is just crazy for small book publishers who don't control the printing process. I got your letter, Vivian and I thought it was very well written. I hope they can look more into this and make it more reasonable for people.

Vivian Zabel said...

All I know at this point is 4RV couldn't afford to have the necessary testing done. Now, we wait and see what the printers let us know, if anything.

If everyone would contact his/her representatives and senators, maybe something would happen, something good.

Wait and see seems to be the program for now.

Dawn Embers said...

Hmm. It's a bit weird. I deal with oil paints and know that some colors are still problematic which I must be more careful when using. But even most of them have had their formulas changed to diminish the lead issue.

Katie Hines said...

I've read about this elsewhere, but don't understand what it has to do with children's books. To the best of my knowledge, publishing books doesn't use any of these products.

Naturally, I could be wrong, and would welcome hearing how.

I know that compliance in this regard can be disastrous for small companies that don't have the dollars to test their products. Seems to be yet another version of "big brother is watching you."

Vivian Zabel said...

Katie, did you note the letter was from, about books?

The law covers anything and everything which a child 12 or under may come in contact -- children's books. Believe me, I have been following the discussion about this problem for the past two days. Other small publishers have researched the problem, too. It does cover children's books.

Holly Jahangiri said...

The law, as best anyone understands it, does cover children's books.

It is retroactive.

It prohibits even donating to charity, giving the items away for free, or selling them used (in short, don't sell that first edition of the Hardy Boys books on eBay). Oh, and you can't ship them outside the U.S. for sale or distribution in another country. (Normally, that would be laudable and I'd be all for it - but given the fact that this thing is overly broad to begin with...)

As written, it would seem that even public school textbooks and library books would be expected to comply... there's a scary thought.

We (the taxpayers) cannot afford the consequences of enforcing the law; the manufacturers of children's goods can't afford the cost of compliance.

Holly Jahangiri said...

Please read and share Save the Children's Books! CPSIA is the Road to Hell, Paved with Good Intentions.

Beth Bence Reinke said...


I just sent e-mails to my senators, congressman and the president about this. If we all work together, maybe the law will be changed. I'm going to speak with the local public librarian and see what she knows, too.


Vivian Zabel said...

Oh, and this will affect the books in schools and libraries. Neither group can afford to test all the books in their shelves or to dispose of all their stocks.

Crazy, crazy.

Resale shops and charity organizations that have clothes and shoes (and books) will have to test each item or throw them away. With the expense of testing, and the stupidity of this law, guess what they will do? More businesses out of business; more people not able to manage to clothe themselves and their children. Fewer opportunities for children to have books to read.