Saturday, December 20, 2008

Help Save Handmade Toys and Children's Products from the CPSIA

It's been an awful long while since I've blogged! These have been some crazy months...my oldest turned 4 years old....the holidays of course....business AND the CPSIA

I'm sick about the CPSIA...I love what I do! I love handcrafting items for babies! I take pride in everything I make and I would never, ever sell anything harmful to children....Yet, THIS LAW WILL PUT ME OUT OF BUSINESS if it's not amended!

I will be posting a sample consumer letter that you can send to your representative or senators...please write! please help me save this wonderful industry!

For those of you not familiar with the CPSIA (consumer product safety improvement act) it was a law passed last August that reduces levels of lead and other chemical acceptable for children's toys and other products. On face, this law rocks! It was triggered by the dangerous toys being imported from China. As a parent, I applaud the effort the Congress has made to put our children's safety first and foremost.

HOWEVER, the law also requires ALL manufactures to test ALL children's products that are intended for use by children under the age of 12 years. This may be a good idea for large companies who may import their products from China but it would put many small US and European manufacturers out of business. This is especially true of the many, many small business that specialize in handmade or custom made products. Testing as the law and the CPSC require will put a HUGE financial burden on small and handmade manufacturers! Every product and it's components must be tested....for a bib that is made of two fabrics and velcro the tests can run upwards of $600. I agree that products intended for children should be regulated but they should be regulated in a way that is efficient, effective and that doesn't lump them with products mass produced in China.

The vast majority of these products are made with lead-free and phthalate-free materials such as cotton fabrics, organic materials and wood. These companies take pride in their work. In addition, in these tough economic times, they employ artisians and support families. These are the toys and products that I have been relying on since I've lost all trust in companies like Mattel.

Manufacturers must comply with this law by February 10, 2009. This day has become the "National Bankruptcy Day!

This is personal for me, not just because I rely on these products for my boys, but because I am a small manufacturer of handmade baby blankets and bibs. My materials are organic and non organic cotton and that's it. Yet, I will be required to test EVERY style of blanket and bib I make. My handmade items are often made to order and are at times, one of a kind. There is no way I can remain in business and comply with this law as it is written. This story is being played out throughout North America.

Soon consumers will only be able to buy products from the large manufacturers that triggered this law in the first place. The independent toy makers and handcrafters of children's products have earned and kept the public's trust. They provide jobs for hundreds and quality playthings and products for thousands. Their unique businesses should be protected.

There are other unintended consequences of this law: we will not be able to donate untested children's products since after February 10, 2009 since they will be illegal to sell or distribute; thrift stores may be forced to stop reselling children's products unless the test them under CPSIA; churches and hospitals will be unable to accept donations of children's products for fear that haven't undergone the proper testing....yikes! As my baby would say: "That not good!"

Visit www.handmadetoyalliance.org and http://www.etsy.com/storque/craftivism/handmade-childrens-items-unintended-consequences-consumer-pr-3056/ to learn more about this issue.

Vote for this issue to be given to President Obama at http://www.change.org/ideas/view/save_handmade_toys_from_the_cpsia

read the law at
http://www.cpsc.gov/ABOUT/Cpsia/cpsia.HTML

Contact the House Energy and Commerce Committee
http://energycommerce.house.gov/

Contact the Senate Commerce Committee
http://commerce.senate.gov/public/

3 comments:

Kathleen Fasanella said...

Thanks for publicizing this! May I also suggest visiting the War Room for up to the minute updates and focused activism? http://tinyurl.com/5fhzbd.On my site, you'll find information specifically for small sewn products producers.

Turtle Park Tots said...

Thanks Kathleen!

Blanket said...

Sounds good...it is necessary to save the hand made and the organic in the era of machines and the artificial.

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