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Greg Webb
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CPSC Labeling Requirements for Children’s Toy Ads Outlined

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The Consumer Product Safety Commission outlined the new labeling requirements for advertisements in catalogues and other printed materials for toys and games with small parts that pose a choking hazard to small children.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA), signed into law August 14, amended the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA), and requires that when a product’s packaging requires a cautionary statement, so too does any advertising that provides a direct means for purchase or order. That includes catalogues, printed materials, and Internet websites, but does not include advertisements or websites that simply direct consumers to a retailer to purchase the product. The required statements under the FHSA are only required for toys or games intended for use by children ages three to six, and toys and games that contain small parts, small balls, marbles, or balloons.

Various exceptions are being considered. Abbreviated warnings might be allowed if the full text appeared on the same or adjacent page, or catalogues may be permitted to place the full text somewhere else, such as on the ordering page, if there is a reference on all other pages regarding the warning. CPSC may allow catalogues to place one warning on the cover if all products in the catalogue would require the warning. CPSC has also proposed that the warnings not be required in catalogues distributed solely to business, but they are considering warnings in certain business catalogues where the products would be given directly to children, such as daycares and schools.

The new labeling requirements for Internet advertising go into effect December 12, 2008, and for catalogues and other printed materials, February 10, 2009. A grace period has been proposed, providing 180 extra days for printed materials printed before February 10, 2009, but all printed materials distributed after August 9, 2009 must contain the warnings.