FEDERAL

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In addition to state legislation pertaining to liability, there are at least three federal laws that directly affect the craftsmaker. First, there is the Hazardous Substance Label­ing Act as amended by the Child Protection Act of 1966 and the Child Protection and Toy Safety Act of 1969. These statutes were passed in response to the staggering number of injuries and poisonings that occur to children under fifteen each year. Under this law the Federal Trade Commission (F.T.C.) is empowered to name any potentially dangerous substance a hazardous substance. Such substances may not be used in any product that might give a child access to the hazardous substance. That is, no amount of use or abuse by a child should make the product unsafe. Presently banned under this act are jaquirty beans used in necklaces, jewelry and dolls’ eyes. For a list of other hazardous substances you should consult your local office of the F.T.C.
The second statute is the Flammable Fabrics Act. This statute empowers the F.T.C. to establish appropriate standards of flammability for the fabrics used in clothing and household products, including children’s toys.

Finally, there is the Consumer Product Safety Act, a stat­ute that empowers the F.T.C. to regulate the composition, content and design of a consumer product. The F.T.C. has promulgated regulations for the use of architectural glass in doors, windows and walls and has banned the use of any surface-coating materials (paints) containing lead. This is a dynamic area, and if (here’s any doubt, craftsmakers should check with the F.T.C. to determine whether the materials they use in creating craft objects are subject to regulation.

The current law of product liability has held the seller of a product liable as well as the producer. If the seller is held liable for a defective product, he may in turn seek re­imbursement from the manufacturer for the amount paid in damages. That may involve another expensive suit, and, if the manufacturer is broke, the seller is out of luck. There are two things that a seller might do to protect himself. First, he can incorporate. This business method limits liability to the corporation. The second method of self-protection is to obtain insurance. Part 2

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