H.C. O'Neill
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The what now? The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act mandates testing for lead in all children's toys... including boardgames.

Testing for lead is good, right? Yes... but not repeated testing. CPSIA requires third party testing of an item even if it was made entirely of materials that were already certified as being lead free. Doesn't matter, you have to test it again.

And all components must be tested. Different colored painted bits? separate test for each color since its got different materials... even if none of those components contain lead, or lead compounds.

Items without a certificate showing them as lead free may not be sold after February 10th, 2009. So you local FLGS may be pulling items that day.

This also affects all imports. Even if they are coming from a country with stricter safety standards than the US, they still must be retested again. And cannot be imported by retailers without the certificate.

This affects all children's products from toys and games, to books, to educational materials. Here's an example of a business that will stop manufacturer telescopes for kids due to the testing cost:
http://cpsia-central.ning.com/forum/topics/everything-rick-w...


Want more info?

The European Union just passed new rules regarding toy safety, but roundly rejected third party testing as inneffective and cost prohibitive:
http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/0...

Here's the CPSIA FAQ direct from the Consumer Product Safety Administration:
http://www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/faq/faq.html

here's a collection of petitions, articles, and more examples of affected products:
http://cpsia-central.ning.com/

A nuts and bolts PDF that puts everything in simple easy to comprehend terms:
http://nsf.org/business/toy_testing/CPSIA.pdf

Info on who to call to voice your opinion:
http://www.zrecommends.com/detail/five-steps-you-can-take-to...

And here's a copy of the e-mail Amazon.com sent to all vendors, requiring them to confirm their products were compliant:
http://issues-in-publishing.blogspot.com/2008/11/cpsia-sneak...


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Brad Miller
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Age Range: 18+

This is no longer a children's product, and therefore this is not relevant to my product.

Problem solved
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Meet me in St Louie for FIRST Worlds!
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    Given some of the pretty egregious errors that have occurred regarding lead, I can understand why this is an ongoing issue.

    Small Game companies will lift their prices along with everyone else to meet the additional costs of the extended testing. Given how inexpensive games are in the US right now, this is not worthy of a sky-is-falling level or response. Their current health care costs vastly exceed that of this additional testing.

             Sag.


 
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H.C. O'Neill
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Ah, not so fast Here's the guidelines for determining if it is a children's product:

FROM CPSA WEBSITE
* A statement by the manufacturer about the intended use of the product, including a label on the product if such statement is reasonable.
* Whether the product is represented in its packaging, display, promotion or advertising as appropriate for use by children 12 years of age or younger.
* Whether the product is commonly recognized by consumers as being intended for use by a child 12 years of age or younger.
* The Age Determination Guidelines issued by the Commission staff in September 2002, and any successor to such guidelines.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

That bit about "whether consumers THINK its for kids" is a killer. Many, many people write off board games as kids stuff. Even if you suggest it is for those over 12, if it is perceived as a "kids game" you can still be in trouble. (or your marketing materials shows kids playing it, same deal)

Same act also increases penalties per violations from $5,000 to $100,000 per violation, plus up to five years in jail.

Playing chicken with the government is dangerous. Can you afford a legal fight with the government? Hasbro can, small publishers can't. Ditto with the testing.


The act is a good idea overall, but poorly implemented.


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H.C. O'Neill
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Sagrilarus wrote:

    Given some of the pretty egregious errors that have occurred regarding lead, I can understand why this is an ongoing issue.

    Small Game companies will lift their prices along with everyone else to meet the additional costs of the extended testing. Given how inexpensive games are in the US right now, this is not worthy of a sky-is-falling level or response. Their current health care costs vastly exceed that of this additional testing.


The objection here isn't to testing for lead, but to repeatedly testing for lead when you already know there's no lead.

You make wooden dominos. You use woods that have no lead. You use paint and stain that has no lead. None of your tools used in making your dominoes have lead. You have certificates that prove this. You must test your dominoes for lead anyway because it may have magically appeared.

The idea is great (protect kids from lead), the implementation is poor.
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Matt Davis
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Quote:
Whether the product is commonly recognized by consumers...


Joe Q Public wrote:
That's not Monopoly! What the hell is it?


No danger there.




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Scott Mellon
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The reason is very simple.

I'm an evil person.

I buy some lead free paint (yellow), and a crapload of lead paint (yellow)

I have a cert that says I have lead free paint, but in reality I used the cheaper lead based paint.

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H.C. O'Neill
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agashamirv wrote:
The reason is very simple.

I'm an evil person.

I buy some lead free paint (yellow), and a crapload of lead paint (yellow)

I have a cert that says I have lead free paint, but in reality I used the cheaper lead based paint.


Which is just as true if they have it third party tested. I do one run of widgets without any lead. I do my second run of widgets with lead. I use the certification from run #1 and claim run two is part of the same batch. Same old lie, just slightly more expensive for everyone involved from the producer to the consumer.

Those that are purposely gaming the system will continue to do so. That's why there's penalties for gaming the system. Those that are playing by the rules are made to pay more to play fair while those who were cheating are still cheating exactly the same way they were before, and still undercutting cost of competitors by cheating.

And keep in mind this doesn't apply just to children's games, but to ANYTHING used by children. Toothbrushes, socks, school textbooks, car seats, bicycles, chairs, you name it.

It makes no distinction between things that are likely to have lead in them and things that are extremely UNlikely to have lead in them. So you need to have kids socks and your school's spelling text books tested for lead despite the odds of their being lead in it being astronomically low. There's about same odds of it being contaminated with uranium.

It's like looking for terrorists is the middle of Antarctica. There are terrorists somewhere! We must look everywhere equally hard! It's a waste of resources and makes nobody any safer.

Keeping kids safe, great idea. CPSIA, bad implementation.

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Seth Owen
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fenris_lorsrai wrote:
agashamirv wrote:
The reason is very simple.

I'm an evil person.

I buy some lead free paint (yellow), and a crapload of lead paint (yellow)

I have a cert that says I have lead free paint, but in reality I used the cheaper lead based paint.


Which is just as true if they have it third party tested. I do one run of widgets without any lead. I do my second run of widgets with lead. I use the certification from run #1 and claim run two is part of the same batch. Same old lie, just slightly more expensive for everyone involved from the producer to the consumer.

Those that are purposely gaming the system will continue to do so. That's why there's penalties for gaming the system. Those that are playing by the rules are made to pay more to play fair while those who were cheating are still cheating exactly the same way they were before, and still undercutting cost of competitors by cheating.

And keep in mind this doesn't apply just to children's games, but to ANYTHING used by children. Toothbrushes, socks, school textbooks, car seats, bicycles, chairs, you name it.

It makes no distinction between things that are likely to have lead in them and things that are extremely UNlikely to have lead in them. So you need to have kids socks and your school's spelling text books tested for lead despite the odds of their being lead in it being astronomically low. There's about same odds of it being contaminated with uranium.

It's like looking for terrorists is the middle of Antarctica. There are terrorists somewhere! We must look everywhere equally hard! It's a waste of resources and makes nobody any safer.

Keeping kids safe, great idea. CPSIA, bad implementation.



Looks like there may be a sudden shortage of kids items next year unless there is some emergency relief.

I don't see how manufacturers could possibly comply with the rule, especially with the short time frame.

I wonder if that was the impetus behind the labeling on Axis & Allies Anniversary edition as being for 13 and above. Earlier editions (and most wargames, actually) have usually been labeled as being for 12 and up.

Quite a few games, especially family games but also including some simpler wargames are labeled for age 8 and up, so they would clearly be covered.

In addition, what about traditional games like chess, backgammon, checkers or dominoes? There are editions of all of these marketed for kids but could merely changing the labeling for a chess set persuade a regulator that the game was now just for 13 and up?
 
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Steve Duff
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agashamirv wrote:
I buy some lead free paint (yellow), and a crapload of lead paint (yellow)


This is probably just me being stupid, but why can you buy lead paint?

Attack the source, don't make life a living hell for all these companies, and allow the cheats to work their lies.
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Seth Owen
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UnknownParkerBrother wrote:
agashamirv wrote:
I buy some lead free paint (yellow), and a crapload of lead paint (yellow)


This is probably just me being stupid, but why can you buy lead paint?

Attack the source, don't make life a living hell for all these companies, and allow the cheats to work their lies.


Well, I think the problem that the law is meant to address is wider than just paint. Apparently it's turned out that many manufacturing processes can include lead.

 
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H.C. O'Neill
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Lead DOES have legitimate uses. The issue is whether or not you are exposed to it in a way that can hurt you. Harmful exposure is usually through inhaling the dust or eating it. (thus why paint is a concern) It isn't always practical to replace its use in other areas that are NOT harmful.

That's just the problem here, there's no consideration of actual RISK. Only whether it has lead of not, and how much. Thus a lightbulb manufacturer is going to stop manufacturing lightbulbs for microscopes for schools. How much are the lightbulbs? ten cents. Why must they stop making them for that use? because there's lead in the solder that holds the filament. There are other materials they could use, but they aren't PRACTICAL replacements. They're either very expensive or not as effective. Mind the lightbulb is buried inside the glass. You have to smash the lighbulb, then EAT IT, to actually be exposed to the lead in a harmful way, and its still not a lot. Cuts from smashed glass far more dangerous.

Link here for that info:
http://www.handmadetoyalliance.org/news---updates/sciencecla...

Even handedness is great, but not to the exclusion of actual common sense.

Science related educational items will be particularly hard hit because of the solder issue. Kids aren't eating microscope or telescopes, etc, but we're apply the same standard to these as things actively being chewed on by kids.

(they are supposed to issue separate guidelines for electronics, but they won't be out for almost a year, so manufacturers have to comply meantime, with no guess what the guidelines will be)
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Seth Owen
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An excellent example of the Law of Unintended Consequences.
 
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Meet me in St Louie for FIRST Worlds!
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    An excellent example of intended consequences in this case. The big issue was the Thomas the Tank Engine toys that turned up with lead after the manufacturing process was determined to have no lead ingredients in it. It was discovered by testers in commercial ventures here in the states. The heart of the issue is the race-to-the-bottom aspect of Chinese manufacturing (though likely occurring elsewere as well).

    A Chinese factory contracts to make a toy at a fixed price per unit and is able to meet that price. They depend upon outside vendors of paint, wood, etc. as resources for the production process, and those ingredients test lead-free. But they receive pressure from their retailers to beat down the price as production continues, and face the pressure of inflation or a varying market for ingredients. At some point in this cycle ever-increased demands, somebody cheats, and there is a very real incentive to be comfortable with the lead-free certificate that was issued six months ago instead of pulling something that came off the line yesterday and send it for testing.

    There's a big U.S. retailer whose name is associated with this economic malfunction though the practice has spread to most large chains. Retailers use their exceptionally large buying power to pressure manufacturers to produce products at unsustainable price points. This is real life and anyone that wants to claim free-market theories here is free to have at it, but this is the way it's working in the world right now, and a large part of the reason that you look at something on your store shelf and scratch your head at how much cheaper it is now than when you were a kid. Including games. Risk sells for $14.99 today. My copy from when I was a kid has a sticker on the front for $16.99, and that's after 33 years of inflation.

    To manage the problem of products changing their makeup mid-run, the US has decided that the only real way to enforce the safety precautions is at the US border, and that means the testing of completed products when they enter the country. The previous testing failed. It failed because there were very real economic incentives for it to do so.

    The result? Increased production cost. Risk will now cost $15.49 since the publisher, be they big or small, will pass the cost on to the consumer. Provided all publishers and manufacturers are playing by the same ruleset the new regulations should not make it any harder for a smaller producer to compete, just a bit more expensive for all.

    If you're uncomfortable with the new rules (passed during a GOP Administration that generally has been scaling back corporate regulations by the way) feel free to contact your representatives in Washington. You'll be placed on hold, right behind the 4800 parents that are calling to congratulate those same reps for their bold actions to "protect the children."

             Sag.


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Tim Seitz
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And it's not just lead... Melamine is a cheap and commonly used industrial chemical which has been found in pet food, baby formula, and even eggs(!) originating from China. Items which have been certified(!) and tested(!) can still show as contaminated in the hands of consumers. The existing system for testing products is not sufficient given the proclivity for cheating the Chinese industry seems to have, coupled with the risk of fatal consequences from chemical poisoning..
 
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H.C. O'Neill
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Washington Post published an article on this today:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12...

Keep in mind this affects not just imported items, but items made entirely from components from within the US that have already gone through rigorous testing.

Washington Post article confirms any item manufactured before date that cannot be proven to meet new guidelines cannot be sold. That includes books. 2007 printing of "Harry potter and the Deathly Hallows?" No certificate, no sale. It has to be destroyed instead.
 
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No doubt about the intended target of this grossly confusing legislation. It's meant to keep lead out of the mouths of small children. In the usual fashion, congress has taken a molehill and built mountain that can't be climbed. So it'll probably go the way of the Washington Apple scare and other scams perpetrated by aggressive lawyers and activists looking for a paycheck.

There's an easy work-around for any publisher that includes cubes or toy pieces in the games:

Quote:
Senate Bill ~ 729
House of Representatives Bill ~ 4882
Lead Exposure Reduction Act of 1994
SEC. 103. RESTRICTIONS ON CONTINUING USES OF CERTAIN LEAD -CONTAINING PRODUCTS.
Title IV (15 U.S.C. 2681 et seq.), as amended by section 101 of this Act, is further amended by inserting after section 402, as redesignated by section 101(a) of this Act, the following new section:
SEC. 403. RESTRICTIONS ON CONTINUING USES OF CERTAIN LEAD -CONTAINING PRODUCTS.
(a) GENERAL RESTRICTIONS-
(2) PRODUCT CATEGORIES- The product categories described in this paragraph are as follows:
(B) Toys and recreational game pieces containing more than 0.1 percent lead by dry weight, except for toys and games with respect to which all lead is contained in electronic or electrical parts or components and that meet the standards and regulations for content, manufacture, processing, and distribution established by the Consumer Product Safety Commission under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (15 U.S.C. 1261 et seq.).

(b) MODIFICATION OF RESTRICTIONS-

(4) WAIVERS FOR TOYS AND RECREATIONAL GAME PIECES- Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this subsection, the Administrator shall promulgate regulations to waive the requirements of subsection (a)(2)(B) with respect to certain toys and recreational game pieces that are collectible items and scale models intended for adult acquisition.


Miniature manufacturers have not previously used this exemption because the cost of tin was close enough to P-65 white metal that it was easier to switch than fight. But now, as tin prices are insane, Reaper has begun using the exemption here:

http://www.reapermini.com/P-65

I'm all for safer toys for the babies, but this whole mess is just ignorant. No publishers will be harmed by it I don't believe and unless Obama solves the current job situation by adding an additional 4 or 5 million government workers to police the inane legislation it'll be quickly ignored and probably either forgotten or revised.
 
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Jonathan "Gorno" Fashena
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Sagrilarus wrote:
There's a big U.S. retailer whose name is associated with this economic malfunction though the practice has spread to most large chains. Retailers use their exceptionally large buying power to pressure manufacturers to produce products at unsustainable price points.
Of course! Only an Evil American Corporation (BWA-HA-HA!) could compel a Chinese toy manufacturer to abandon their rock-solid tradition of safety and quality!

Gorno
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Gillian Joseph
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Just what governments are good at, over the top knee-jerk reactions.
 
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