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For years the furniture industry has developed standards that apply to children's furniture, and those standards have greatly improved the safety of this furniture. For example the Consumer Product Safety Commission has adopted the industry standard for cribs...
The industry was willing and able to comply with these standards, and recall (replace or repair) furniture that failed to meet these standards in actual use. So far, no big deal - no problem.
In 2007 there were some high volume recalls of domestic products and large numbers of toys imported from China with lead-based paint and other problems. In the wake of these events, congress passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) which became law on August 14, 2008. The CPSIA imposes mandatory third party testing for all consumer products primarily intended for children 12 years of age or under. The independent lab has to certify that the item conforms to all Consumer Product Safety Commission regulations. Sounds good - so what's the problem?
As much as I would love to build a custom crib or youth bed for you, I don't have the legal staff to check the latest version of the regulations, nor would you want me to build two of everything, and pay an independent lab to destroy one of them. That's the law. Ugh.
In January 2010 the requirement for testing was deferred for a year (but the liability if it doesn't later pass the tests remains). Sorry, but if I am still liable for the results of the testing that I can't afford to do, that doesn't help me.
At the same time it appears that the CPSC is looking into component testing. Huh? It means that if I make something from wood, that natural material may be exempt from testing. If I apply finish, today the entire piece must be destructively tested, but if they allow component testing, maybe testing by the finish manufacturer will allow me to produce a toy or bed (or whatever), out of wood, with a tested and approved finish, without having the entire piece submitted for destructive testing. Maybe someday I will be able to provide this service again.
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