Christian Retailing

Suppliers pay ‘close attention’ to new product safety law Print Email
Written by Eric Tiansay   
Monday, 06 April 2009 09:01 AM America/New_York
Christian companies comply with testing requirements designed to protect children under 12 from tainted products


Christian gift suppliers are up to speed with a new federal law designed to protect children from tainted products.

Vendors contacted by Christian Retailing said they were paying “close attention” to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), passed by Congress in August 2008 after Mattel Inc. recalled more than 21 million toys imported from China in 2007. Many were found to have dangerous levels of lead.

CPSIA bars the sale of goods, including toys and clothing that contain more than 600 parts per million of lead marketed to children 12 and under. The law was to go into effect Feb. 10, but the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) approved a year stay of enforcement Jan. 30 for certain testing and certification requirements for children’s products manufacturers and importers. Violations could mean shutdowns and fines.

“We are contacting all suppliers and asking them to confirm their CPSIA compliance, so that we can identify fully compliant suppliers on the CBA Web site and at the International Christian Retail Show,” CBA President Bill Anderson said.

According to the retail trade association, 82 suppliers so far have completed a survey on its Web site, noting that the companies were in compliance with CPSIA.

Hans DeMildt, manager of Right Way Christian Bookstore in Orange City, Fla., said he was not overly concerned about any impact from the new law.

“I asked one of our big gift suppliers, and they said that they were compliant,” he said. “I haven’t had any inquiries from customers (about CPSIA). I feel confident that the products we carry are in compliance.”

Although testing can range from a couple hundred dollars to $4,000 per item to comply with CPSIA, vendors said the cost was not a major issue.

altGeorge Nizynski, president of Lighthouse Christian Products, said the company was paying “close attention to all the CPSIA rules and regulations.”

“We have always followed CPSC standards and testing requirements for our children’s products and other consumer products,” he said. “Lighthouse pays an extra commission that ranges from 15% to 20% to our Far East representative offices, (which) have staff that monitor and manage our quality and safety levels on our products throughout the entire production cycle. … This extra cost is a significant investment that we have always made.”

Laura Lung, president of Bob Siemon Designs, said the company’s products “have been lead-free even before this new law.”

“We’ve been very proactive to let our customers know that our products are lead-free,” she said. “About a year ago, we let our customers know that this legislation was coming. Additionally, we provided information (about CPSIA) at trade shows and on our Web site. … Personally, we’re happy that there’s this requirement now.”

Julie Kaempfe, owner of infant apparel company His GEM, said she received some calls from stores inquiring about CPSIA.

“Our apparel is safe,” she said. “Our products are tested overseas in Bangkok, Thailand, and Hong Kong. They meet the requirements of CPSIA.

“We plan to put a copy of our General Conformity Certificate on our Web site, so people are appeased that we don’t have lead,” Kaempfe added.

Kerusso Vice President of Marketing Chris Rainey said only the apparel company’s toy products, including “Praise Ponies,” “God’s Girlz” and “Friction Powered Trucks,” were largely impacted by CPSIA.

“We are in compliance to conformity of the regulations, but have not completed third-party testing to receive certificates on all items,” he said. “We do have these on most all jewelry items, and we will continue to get third-party testing accomplished on all items required by (the) end of 2009, which will meet the February 2010 requirements by CPSIA.”

Rainey added that Kerusso had conducted third-party testing on its jewelry items in the last two years.

“While our jewelry isn’t designated as children’s product and therefore isn’t affected by this new law, we’ve taken the extra steps, precautions and costs to make sure all of our products are safe,” he said. “Much of our jewelry has certifications from third-party testing organizations.”