Saturday, December 20, 2008
I was catching up with a few friends' blogs the other day and came across a very interesting post by my friend Stephanie. After doing some more reading, I believe I understand correctly that the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) proposed a new law that was passed by Congress and will go into effect Feb 10, 2009. This new law, called the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), was designed to lock down on the quality of products that are sold in the United States for children under the age of 12 - both apparel and toys. This is in response to the issues we had recently with imported goods from abroad containing lead and other hazardous substances. Starting in February, any items produced for children in this age range and sold within the United States will have to undergo stringent testing to ensure its safety, and be stamped with a non-removable label stating batch numbers and manufacturer.
So far, if you're like me, this probably sounds great! I'm all in favor of my children having the safest toys and clothing they can. The problem is that this new law is a broad and sweeping legislation that will not only affect large-scale manufacturers of toys and apparel for children both here and abroad, but it will affect EVERY person who produces a good that is sold for any amount that is marketed for children. This includes the small-business owner who owns a trendy children's boutique, the stay-at-home mom selling dolls on the Etsy to supplement her family's income, and the grandmother who knits baby hats to sell at craft fairs or the grandfather who makes wooden toys as his creative outlet. Every item sold within the United States who's end user is a child under 12 will fall under this new law. Not only that, any item produced before the Feb 10th date will automatically become illegal for sale within the United States unless it meets the testing and labeling requirements stated above. From what I can understand, the testing required would amount to around $500 per toy/clothing item produced (in my case, $500 to test all of the components used to make one type of burp cloth - fabric, thread, etc. If I want to change any of the components used, it would all have to be retested!)
I don't want to go crazy and make some sort of doomsday announcement, but this is something that affects me and many friends of mine. If this law is implemented as planned, it will make some of the items that I have for sale in my Etsy store illegal for sale as I simply couldn't afford the testing! I believe the government was in the right mindset when it passed this law - desiring to protect our innocent children. It is unfortunate that the consequences of this legislation for small-business owners were not considered before its passing. I'm not the type to pass on info that I have not thoroughly studied, and I'm sure I could do more research to better understand this new law, so I will let you form your own opinion on the matter. At the bottom of this post you'll find links to the sites that I went to to gather information. Also, if you feel moved to respond, you will find links in my sidebar and in this post that can help you learn how you can have an impact on this issue!
Information on the CPSIA law
The US Consumer Product and Safety Commission's site for the CPSIA law
Handmade Toy Alliance's proposal for the modification of the CPSIA
How you can act (in no particular order)
* Handmade Toy Alliance's suggestions
* Follow these 5 steps
* Send an email to the CPSC here (see form letter suggestion here)
2) ipetitions.com (note: At some point this one asks you for money. If you just stop there and don't click "continue", your vote will still count)
* Post the "Save Handmade" button on your blog. Use this for the image. You can link it to wherever you want, I linked mine to the button's provider!