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New Regulations Affecting Catalogs and Websites from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission:

If you sell balloons, small balls or anything containing small parts that may be used by children, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is promulgating new standards and regulations in response to Federal legislation passed this August. These regulations will affect your website and all printed materials (including catalogs) and require you to provide specific types of notices and warnings substantially different from current regulations. Significant penalties may apply for failure to conform.

These warnings cover all products containing materials and small parts that could pose suffocation or chocking hazard for children aged between aged 3 to 8 years old. They apply to all businesses who provide a direct means for purchase or ordering of covered products (web, catalog, toll free phone number, etc.). Summary details on this new regulation are available www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/105brief.html.

These deadlines are rapidly approaching but in the usual Washington fashion, final regulations are not yet available. (The CPSC is working rapidly to issue these but the CPSC was not given much lead-time by Congress.)

Regulations are effective December 10, 2008 for websites and February 10, 2009 for all printed materials including catalogs. The new standards cover the language, font, placement, form, adjacency and other details to determine what a valid notice is. The manufacturer, importer or distributor is required to provide this information to the reseller but you must request it from them. However, you may also be covered if you request this information and either (a) do not get it or (b) receive the wrong information. Direct sourcing companies may have to originate this information themselves.

ACMA has not had the opportunity to review fully on the proposed notice requirements. Given the specific and detailed nature of this new requirement, we strongly suggest you make your own inquires and study of the issues involved. The full Federal Register notice can be found at Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPR) on Labeling Requirements for Toy and Game Advertising (pdf) (if this link does not work on your browser, please click here: http://www.cpsc.gov/businfo/frnotices/fr09/irtgadv.pdf .

Business to Business (B2B) catalogs and websites (distributed only to business) may be exempt from the new warning requirements but this decision will be made in the final regulations that are expected on November 12, 2008. Direct merchants that provide products to teachers, day care centers, schools and similar institutions are expected to be required to provide these notices.

An additional grace period for printed matter of “not more than 180 days” may also be provided but this decision will only be known on or about November 12, 2008. In any case, by August 2009, the required cautionary statements will be required on all materials used or distributed. Most merchants will face earlier deadlines.

Further information is available on the above sites. Catalogers can submit specific questions on these to regulations by using the following email: Newleg@cpsc.gov . The CPSC will get back to companies as soon as possible to address any specific needs or questions.

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