Lead rules for juvenile furniture eased by CongressWASHINGTON

- Juvenile furniture lead standards were eased under legislation passed Monday by the House and approved unanimously by the Senate Tuesday.

H.R. 2715, expected to be signed by President Barack Obama, directs the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to apply new, lower lead limits of 100 parts per million only to children's products such as wood furniture, cribs and toys, made after the bill's effective date, August 14.

"The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, passed in 2008, would have made lead standards retroactive, even for products that met the 300 parts per million lead standard at the time of their manufacture," noted Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI), chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce which developed the House bill. "Congress had good intentions when it passed the CPSIA in 2008, but the law created a series of unintended consequences forcing small businesses to close their doors as a result of the law’s rigid restrictions and costly regulations."

The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) and the American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) each actively advocated for easing the rules that were seen as burdensome to furniture manufacturers and retailers. The 2008 CPSIA would have made inventoried furniture unsalable if it did not meet the lower limits.

Product recalls under existing rules of juvenile furniture products containing lead have been relatively rare. In December 2008, Munire Cribs recalled a Newport Rubbed Black crib (shown) and matching furniture, made in Indonesia, because a red paint undercoat contained excessive amounts of lead. Munire said one child who was reported to have been exposed to the red paint suffered lead poisoning.

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