Online or Mail Order Shopping – A Reminder for Responsible Shopping and Product Safety

Most people have seen, at one time or another, ads for new children’s products or household/personal use products on the television, or online, with what appears to be an ‘amazing’ deal… those famous ‘limited time offers’ with the amazing deal to ‘purchase now and you’ll get two products for the price of one’.Shoppers need to keep in mind that it’s not always just about the ‘deal’.

When shopping online or via mail, shoppers need to keep in mind that some products may be prohibited in your home country and others still may have special safety requirements that are actually more strict than the safety requirements for the same product in other countries. The more you know about the health, environmental and user risks of the product you are about to purchase, the better you can protect the health and stability of both you and your family. If you do not practice responsible shopping, you can end up putting yourself and your family into some sticky situations.

One example of the consequences of not practicing responsible shopping is during the purchase of a children’s car seat in Canada. Perhaps you’ve seen an ad online for a really good deal on a car seat that is coming from the United States and you happen to live in Canada. Car seats for children are regulated by both Health Canada and Transport Canada, and must pass Continue Reading…

4th Revised Edition of the ‘Purple Book’ (GHS) – What’s new

In June of 2011, the fourth revised edition of the UN’s Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS, Rev.4) was issued.
The changes in the latest revision include two new hazard categories : chemically unstable gases and non-flammable aerosols.  These new categories account for hazards not previously addressed where special precautions are needed when handling, storing or transporting these items.  Acetylene, a commonly used welding gas is an example of a ‘chemically unstable gas’.  Acetylene is unstable and can explode without an ignition source at pressures as low as 25 psi (172 kPa).  For that reason, Acetylene is normally sold ‘dissolved’ in porous Acetone to allow for higher pressures.  Additionally, a non-flammable aerosol, still presents a pressurization hazard and can explode if heated, even though it is not technically ‘flammable’.

The 4th Revised Purple Book provides additional clarification of some of the hazard criteria, such as for gases under pressure or mixture cutoffs for Category 1 Carcinogens; and further rationalization of precautionary statements, such as ‘P251 – Do not pierce or burn, even after use’ for non-flammable aerosols as well as flammable aerosols.

Also added, is a new special labelling arrangement for materials that are only corrosive to metals and not corrosive to the skin and eyes.  The new option for the Competent Authority is to allow the hazard pictogram for the ‘Corrosive to metals’ category to Continue Reading…

Canada’s new Consumer Product Safety Act – The new ‘Law of the Land’

Every year in Canada, there are thousands of emergency room visits which are a direct result of children, under the age of 10, being injured by consumer products found in and around the home. In an effort to improve the safety of the products that Canadians purchase, Canada’s Health Minister announced on June 20, 2011, that a new Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) is now “the law of the land”.

The purpose of the new Act is to protect the health and safety of Canadians, particularly children, by addressing or preventing dangers posed by consumer products. The Canada Consumer Product Safety Act places new obligations on industry, not with consumers, to ensure that they are not marketing potentially dangerous consumer products. The Act applies to you if you manufacture, import, sell (includes leasing or distributing product, even if no money is exchanged), advertise, test or package and label a consumer product in Canada.

The Canada Consumer Product Safety Act replaces 40-year old legislation with modern laws to protect Canadians from unsafe products, and give Government more powers in dealing with those unsafe products. The Government now has the authority to remove dangerous products from store shelves by issuing mandatory recalls, something that was difficult to do under the old system of legislation, the Hazardous Products Act. The CPSA introduces new record-keeping requirements, new mandatory incident reporting requirements, Continue Reading…