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CPSC Won’t Set Cadmium Limits

26 Oct

[reprinted from Counselor® PromoGram® Volume 759 / October 26, 2010]

Backing away from a stance of regulation, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has announced it will not impose mandatory limits on the amount of cadmium that can be used to manufacture children’s items, like toys and jewelry. Instead, the CPSC has recommended “acceptable daily intake” levels for the heavy metal, ceding formal rule-making to trade and consumer groups that can develop voluntary manufacturing standards. “If we find those standards are insufficient to protect the health and safety of consumers, then we can move to a mandatory standard,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum.

According to Tenenbaum, CPSC scientists have determined that children can safely ingest 0.1 micrograms daily of cadmium per every kilogram of body weight for an extended period, and 11 micrograms per day at once. Based on those numbers, some recent product recalls, including the much-publicized McDonald’s recall of 12 million “Shrek”-themed drinking glasses, would not have been issued.

While the CPSC has declined to regulate cadmium, federal officials are still acting to pressure manufacturers into accepting a uniform position on the metal’s use. First, the CPSC is recommending a new test, generally considered rigorous by jewelry makers, that would measure cadmium by dissolving an item in acid for 24 hours. Additionally, CPSC staff is urging ASTM International, a standards-setting organization, to revise its safety rules to phase out cadmium from children’s items.

Although there remain no federal cadmium regulations, four states – Connecticut, Illinois, Minnesota and California – passed strict laws this year limiting the use of the metal. Manufacturers are especially affected by the mandates in California, which is home to two of the largest ports in the nation and a major receiver of products from China. Concern over the potentially toxic metal began in January, when testing showed a single piece of children’s jewelry, imported from China, was 91% cadmium.

To date, no recalled item in the U.S. has contained enough cadmium to prove fatal to a child, but health experts warn the metal can lead to liver and kidney damage, and even cancer, if swallowed.

FTC Revises Eco Marketing Guidelines

12 Oct

[Reprinted from Counselor® PromoGram® Volume 755 / October 12, 2010, from the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI)]

Aiming to crack down on misleading environmental claims, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has released changes to long-standing marketing guidelines, cautioning companies against exaggerated and generalized advertising. Within the body of the updated rules, called Green Guides, the FTC has tried to clarify the appropriate use of product certifications, terms such as “renewable energy” and “carbon offset,” and certain seals of approval. “In recent years, businesses have increasingly used ‘green’ marketing to capture consumers’ attention and move Americans toward a more environmentally friendly future,” said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. “But what companies think green claims mean and what consumers really understand are sometimes two different things.”

The new guidelines, which are the first FTC-issued changes on the topic since 1998, strongly urge companies to show “competent and reliable scientific evidence” if they make claims of environmental benefits tied to their products. In a specific change, the FTC warns companies not to make claims that products are made with “renewable materials” or “renewable energy” when any oil, coal or other fossil fuel was used in the manufacturing process. The FTC’s new guidelines also steer marketers away from using terms such as “eco-friendly” and “environmentally-friendly” in their promotional efforts because they are too broad and vague in scope.

The updated guidelines are just the latest action by the FTC to more tightly scrutinize greenwashing, a term used to describe unsubstantiated environmental claims about products. Since last year in fact, the FTC has filed a series of complaints regarding the validity of supposed biodegradable products and the environmental benefits of bamboo-based clothing. For example, last August, four non-industry apparel manufacturers were highlighted by the FTC for deceptive marketing practices related to the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act.

While enforcement by the FTC is becoming more stringent, companies still aren’t required by law to follow the Green Guides. If a company uses a pattern of marketing deception, however, the FTC is pledging to take action. “We’re going to go after them, and we’ll put them under order,” said Leibowitz.

The new Green Guides, which the public can comment on until December 10, can be found at


Jetline Enters the Nonwoven bag market

18 Aug

Jetline has entered the Nonwoven bag market with a 100% recylable 80 GSM Nonwoven Polypropylene tote. Their large tote runs $1.49 at EQP with one color imprint with their standard tote running at $1.28.

Jetline has been a good producer in the past so I am curious to see how these bags work out for them.

A reminder, nonwoven bags are made from structures bonded together by entangling fiber mechanically. They are flat and porous sheets that are made directly from separate (often recycled) fibers. They are not made by weaving or knitting and do not require converting the fibers to yarn. Nonwoven products are often made from recycled material AND are often biodegradable.

Jetline’s items are advertised as recycled but not biodegradable. The company said in an email that they deliberately went with duration of use as opposed to biodegradability with these items. Still they do have a very large selection of colors to choose from.

For more information on Jetline’s bag visit their website at or contact Alex Skorupsky.

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