Importing Kids Products? Test for Lead First.

August 12, 2009
By Michelle Kelley

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With the country in the midst of an economic recession, the last thing most businesses can afford is a $40,000 fine for a lead paint violation.

“In 1978, a federal ban was put in place which prohibited toys and other children’s articles from having more than 0.06 percent lead (by weight) in paints or surface coatings. Lead can be toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health consequences.” (Source: Consumer Product Safety Commission)

Mohawk Global Logistics advises all importers of toys and other children’s articles to have their products tested for lead BEFORE the products are brought into the country.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently released a list of nine children’s products manufacturers that violated the federal ban on importing and selling articles with excess levels of lead. Altogether, penalties for these violations totaled $500,000.

The list included several major U.S. retailers.

Dollar General Corp. was fined $100K.
Family Dollar Stores was fined $75K.
Hobby Lobby Stores was fined $50K.
Michaels Stores was fined $45K.

Despite the fact that some of the named retailers immediately notified the CPSC and issued product recalls upon receiving lab results indicative of excessive lead levels, these retailers were still heavily penalized.

According to the CPSC, these penalties were justified because the retailers “knowingly manufactured, imported or sold toys and other children’s articles with paint or other surface coatings that contained lead levels in violation of federal law.”

Importers would be wise to note the CPSC’s implied meaning of “knowingly” in the previous statement. While some of the retailers may not have had direct knowledge that their products violated the lead paint ban before importing and selling their goods in the U.S., they still “knowingly” violated the ban because the products should have been tested for lead BEFORE they entered the country and BEFORE they were sold to consumers.

If you are a U.S. importer of children’s products, you can avoid these costly fines by testing your products for lead prior to bringing them into the country. Save your company thousands of dollars: know your products.

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