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Retailers Rush To Take Lead On Lead

With fresh discoveries of lead in children’s toys and other consumer products, retailers are taking a proactive view to what remains on their shelves.

On February 11, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act took effect, banning the sale of children’s products containing dangerous amounts of lead and chemicals called phthalates, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Retailers haven’t exactly embraced the spirit of the law. Indeed, manufacturers, publishing houses, thrift stores and more have spent the past month railing against the law because it would force them to dispose of products that hadn’t been tested or were manufactured before the law became known.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission, which enforces the law, decided against a delay in the decree and Congress refused to add to the stimulus package an amendment changing the rule.

But while the law has gone into effect, earlier this month Federal regulators postponed testing requirements that would have forced manufacturers to shell out large fees for failing to check childrens’ products for lead content.

With this in mind, there’s a lot of confusion surrounding the law, according to the  San Francisco Chronicle writes (via Daily Green):

“While businesses are barred from selling illegal products after today, it is not clear how retailers will know what’s in the products without industry testing.” As the Chronicle points out, the enforcement of the law will likely fall on states attorneys-general, so watch for announcements from your state officials as testing continues. Undoubtedly, the same consumer protection watchdogs that identified widespread problems with lead in the first place will also release independent testing results in time.

The commission recently released a guidance to help retailers and consumers determine which products are covered by the act. The commission also is seeking additional public input.

The commission first published the proposed rule in the January 15, 2009, Federal Register.

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