Friday, January 30, 2009

Possible Stay of Execution from CPSIA

Breaking News: The CPSIA Mandatory Testing & Certification Proposed 1 Year Suspension

We are so excited to announce that the Commission has voted for a "Stay of Enforcement of Certain Testing and Certification Requirements of CPSIA" — which means that they are proposing a 1 year suspension of the burden of lead testing and certification while they take more time to review the rules and plan enforcement!

All of your hard work is paying off (for the time being at least!). You wouldn't have to pay to do the certification and testing, though you are still liable if your products are found to have lead.

We are so pleased that artisans and vintage sellers got their voices heard. Your hard work is not over; we must continue to play a role in advocating for small business people throughout the coming year.

"The action taken today provides breathing space to get in place some of the rules needed for implementation, but it should not be viewed as a full solution to the many problems that have been raised." —U.S. Consumer product Safety Commission

You'll find the press release below:

CPSC Grants One Year Stay of Testing and Certification Requirements for Certain Products
Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission voted unanimously (2-0) to issue a one year stay of enforcement for certain testing and certification requirements for manufacturers and importers of regulated products, including products intended for children 12 years old and younger.

These requirements are part of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), which added certification and testing requirements for all products subject to CPSC standards or bans.

Significant to makers of children’s products, the vote by the Commission provides limited relief from the testing and certification requirements which go into effect on February 10, 2009 for new total lead content limits (600 ppm), phthalates limits for certain products (1000 ppm), and mandatory toy standards, among other things. Manufacturers and importers – large and small – of children’s products will not need to test or certify to these new requirements, but will need to meet the lead and phthalates limits, mandatory toy standards and other requirements.

The decision by the Commission gives the staff more time to finalize four proposed rules which could relieve certain materials and products from lead testing and to issue more guidance on when testing is required and how it is to be conducted.

The stay will remain in effect until February 10, 2010, at which time a Commission vote will be taken to terminate the stay.

The stay does not apply to:

Four requirements for third-party testing and certification of certain children’s products subject to:
The ban on lead in paint and other surface coatings effective for products made after December 21, 2008;

The standards for full-size and non full-size cribs and pacifiers effective for products made after January 20, 2009;

The ban on small parts effective for products made after February 15, 2009; and
The limits on lead content of metal components of children’s jewelry effective for products made after March 23, 2009.

Certification requirements applicable to ATV’s manufactured after April 13, 2009.
Pre-CPSIA testing and certification requirements, including for: automatic residential garage door openers, bike helmets, candles with metal core wicks, lawnmowers, lighters, mattresses, and swimming pool slides; and Pool drain cover requirements of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act.

The stay of enforcement provides some temporary, limited relief to the crafters, children’s garment manufacturers and toy makers who had been subject to the testing and certification required under the CPSIA.

These businesses will not need to issue certificates based on testing of their products until additional decisions are issued by the Commission.

However, all businesses, including, but not limited to, handmade toy and apparel makers, crafters and home-based small businesses, must still be sure that their products conform to all safety standards and similar requirements, including the lead and phthalates provisions of the CPSIA.

Handmade garment makers are cautioned to know whether the zippers, buttons and other fasteners they are using contain lead.

Likewise, handmade toy manufacturers need to know whether their products, if using plastic or soft flexible vinyl, contain phthalates.

The stay of enforcement on testing and certification does not address thrift and second hand stores and small retailers because they are not required to test and certify products under the CPSIA.

The products they sell, including those in inventory on February 10, 2009, must not contain more than 600 ppm lead in any accessible part.

The Commission is aware that it is difficult to know whether a product meets the lead standard without testing and has issued guidance for these companies that can be found on our Web site.

The Commission trusts that State Attorneys General will respect the Commission's judgment that it is necessary to stay certain testing and certification requirements and will focus their own enforcement efforts on other provisions of the law, e.g. the sale of recalled products.

Please visit the CPSC Web site at www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/cpsia.html for more information on all of the efforts being made to successfully implement the CPSIA.

Story by matt, Vanessa Published on January 30, 2009 in Craftivism
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Letter Campaign to the CSPC

Dear Friends,

I just sent a letter to Nancy Nord at the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) asking her to clarify new child products rules to protect safe handmade clothes and toys.

The manufacture and sale of natural, toxic-free, handmade children’s products is a cherished part of our economy, and I want to make sure we protect and empower this largely mom-driven industry as we move forward with improving safety standards for all children’s products.

You can send a letter, too, by clicking here: http://www.momsrisingaction.org/o/1768/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=26508

The Consumer Product Safety Information Act is a landmark law that will protect our children from dangerous chemicals.

As the Consumer Products Safety Commission considers the specific details for implementing this important law, we need to use commonsense and ensure that children’s products handmade with only natural, toxic-free materials can comply with the law through using certified safe materials as opposed to only through expensive testing.

Thanks!
Carolyn

Last Chance to Urge Changes on CPSIA

Today is the last day to submit comments to the CPSIA regarding component testing and the ability to use certified components in products to avoid the duplication of final product testing.

See Request Here

If you haven't sent in a letter yet, please go to the site. Pre-written letter, just fill in your info.
Here

Thank you,
Carolyn
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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Freedom and Independence from the CPSIA

This is a video from a fellow independant childrens' clothing crafter, Caroline of Little Journeys Baby World http://www.littlejourneysbabyworld.com

Monday, January 19, 2009

Reform CPSIA HR4040

Reform CPSIA HR4040


1788 Signatures
Published by Dawn Michelle LaPolla on Jan 07, 2009


Category: Law Reform
Region: United States of America
Target: Reform of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act
Web site: http://www.reformcpsia.org/

Description/History:


The August 14, 2008 legislation included a new ban on lead in children's products (no more than 600 parts per million (ppm) by weight of any part of the product). According to the CPSIA, the new lead requirements take effect beginning February 10, 2009. However, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has determined that this new requirement will apply to goods in inventory, as well as goods made on or after that effective date. This ruling effectively makes this new lead requirement retroactive.



This means that product that produced several months ago, & which is safe & legally compliant today, will not be able to be sold on February 10. This seems unfair, as it means we are being held responsible for a standard that didn't even exist when those goods were made. Moreover, it will be extremely difficult - & in some cases impossible - to retroactively certify that individual goods already in the warehouses & on the store shelves meet the new lead standard. In short, the ruling puts at risk millions of dollars of inventory.



Based on 2002 U.S. Census data, which is the most current available for the apparel manufacturing industry, the Cut & Sew Apparel Manufacturing industry, which includes most categories of small manufacturers of infant’s & children’s apparel, is comprised of more than 40,000 companies. Of these, almost 28,000, or 68%, are sole proprietors contributing a total of $900 million to our nation’s economy. Thus, while our businesses are small, they comprise well more than the majority of the apparel manufacturing businesses currently operating in this country.



We urge the CPSC to issue guidance that makes clear that textiles & apparel are only subject to the lead & lead in paint requirements to the extent that a component presents a risk that it contains lead.



I respectfully request that the CPSC institute rulemaking to clearly define the scope and applicability of the new lead regulations and testing requirements for apparel and footwear products. I also urge that CPSC announce and implement an orderly enforcement schedule that focuses initial phases on education of these new requirements. Finally, I believe the decision by the CPSC to apply the lead ban retroactively needs to be reconsidered as soon as possible since the practical impact of this decision, in today's economic environment, will have an adverse effect at a time the government is spending billions to stimulate the economy.



Disclaimer: I am not the original author of this petition. This petition was authored by concerned men and woman whom this Act will dramatically affect. I am grateful to them for their contribution to this effort.


Petition:


Reformation of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) HR4040



We, the undersigned, believe that HR4040 unfairly targets small businesses that manufacture or sell products for children by implementing regulations that require redundant testing. Such requirements are excessive and cost prohibitive, retroactively impacting billions of dollars of current inventory. The current Act has circumvented the public discourse necessary to truly ascertain the CPSIA’s impact on small business.



We request that Congress institute rulemaking to clearly define the scope and applicability of the new lead regulations and testing requirements for children’s products as well as require the CPSC to announce and implement an orderly enforcement schedule that focuses initial phases on education of these new requirements as well as identifying exemptions for products that are inherently lead free.



We believe the decision by the CPSC to apply the lead ban retroactively should be reconsidered since the practical impact of this decision will have an adverse effect on small businesses and the economy at a time when the government is spending billions to stimulate the economy. Therefore, we, the undersigned, hereby petition Congress to reform the Law, adhering to the Administrative Procedure Act & the Regulatory Flexibility Act as well as request the courts application thereof now and in the interim to make a moratorium on the present Act.


Sign the petition


The Reform CPSIA HR4040 petition to Reform of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act was written by Dawn Michelle LaPolla and is hosted free of charge at GoPetition.

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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Congressman Dent takes up the cause! Re: CPSIA

The following article was written by BuggaLove on Etsy Forum.
The title (above) links to the article and this is the link to her Etsy Shop.

Congressman Dent takes up the cause! Re: CPSIA

For those who do not know, I have been communicating frequently with Congressman Charlie Dent’s office. His office has been extremely helpful in assisting me gather accurate information regarding the CPSIA. My meeting with Congressman Dent himself is scheduled for January 16, 2009.

I’ve received word today that Congressman Dent is taking up our cause. And he is gathering the support of other Congressmen. So far, Congressman Jim Gerlach and Congressman Tim Holden have joined him to support the effort. Others are reviewing and likely more will join the effort in the next few days. Congressman Dent is sending a letter to the Committee on Energy and Commerce requesting a hearing. This is VERY good news. THIS is how things get changed.

It is the new chairman of the Committee who has the ability to call for hearings on this matter and advance critical legislation to resolve some of the issues. The best way to convince him of the need for a hearing to amend the CPSIA is to WRITE LETTERS to the four Energy and Commerce Committee leaders explaining our concerns and issues with the law as it is written and how it will affect us. Even if you have written to these people before, I urge you to send another letter.

Here are the names and addresses of the four Committee leaders:

The Hon. Henry A. Waxman
Chairman
Committee on Energy and Commerce
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Hon. Joe Barton
Ranking Member
Committee on Energy and Commerce
2322-A Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Hon. Bobby Rush
Chairman
Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Hon. Ed Whitfield
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Commerce, Tradeand Consumer Protection
2322-A Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
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New child product safety law turns millions of US homecrafters into criminals

Kiki Fluhr, who runs the All the Numbers Handmade homecraft business from her Quincy, Massachusetts home, warns that the new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which becomes effective from February 10 next year, will turn micro-businesses like hers into illegal manufacturers of "hazardous substances' overnight.

We will all become criminals
This law includes hand-knitted, quilted and hand-sewn clothes, wooden toys and the myriad of other products for children which traditionally have been sold by arts-and-crafts shops countrywide for decades. These are usually produced by cash-strapped people at home. She says that even granny's home-made quilts sold in the local arts-and-crafts shop won't be exempt from this new law. Also disastrous is the fact that thousands of tons of these often exquisitely-handcrafted products in the pre-existing stock of shops also will have to be dumped as contraband which under this law will be deemed to contain 'banned, hazardous substances' after February 10 -- because the Act is retroactive. Each product will have be tested at huge cost and produce a certificate of compliance before it can be sold. Handcrafters say they can't afford this huge price-tag of $4,000 for each test.

National Bankruptcy Act
Thousands of American microshops like Kiki's will be forced to go out of business because of this Act. She calls it the National Bankruptcy Act which is turning every home-crafter into a felon overnight: every manufacturer, reseller and retailer will need to prove compliance or risk being charged with a felony. A conviction carries tens of thousands of dollars in fines and potentially even jail time.

Read page 7 of the act - with reference to the required testing of children's products on page 7. Lodge complaints against this act before January 20 2009.


Fluhr says that she has spent the last six months growing her business, 'working incredibly hard to create a great product. '

The Act was drawn up after last year's massive recalls, when dozens of dangerous, lead-tainted Chinese toys and children's products were recalled.

"In August 2008, in response to that disaster, the Consumer Product Safety Commission passed this legislation.

She says while it's laudable that the new law bans lead and phthalates (a chemical used in some vinyl products) from all children’s toys, apparel, decor, and accessories, it's a disaster for micro-businesses like hers. She works with organic materials -- and traditional handcrafters like her are very conscious of the safety of their products. However they can't afford to have each product tested at the cost of $4,000 per item to get their certificates of compliance. So they will not only be forced out of business, but their pre-existing stock will be outlawed.

Manufacturers -- all these microbusinesses included -- will have to obtain a certificate of compliance: anyone who makes clothing, toys etc regardless of volume, needs to have each and every component tested by a CPSC-accredited laboratory at huge cost for each individual product.

"This includes not just toys, but clothing, jewelry, blankets, sheets, books, bibs, strollers, carriers, and anything else that a child younger than 12 might come in contact with," she said.

"These tests have to be done at a CSPC accredited lab, and cost as much as $4,000 with an average of around $500. So for me, I offer three different types of dresses. Each dress contains two different fabrics, as well as buttons, and thread (each of which needs to be tested), so that’s potentially $2,000 to test one dress. But I have three styles, so that’s $6,000.

And when I get a new bolt of fabric, I need to start all over again. I can only make 15 dresses from one bolt, so there is no way I could make the testing financially feasible".

She agrees wholeheartedly that the children must be protected from harmfull chemicals. "However this law, as it is currently written, will affect handmade toy and apparel makers - the very people many of us turn to for safe toys, clothing and decor for our children."

"At present, there are no exemptions for small businesses and “micro” manufacturers like myself and most handcraft artisans."

Even lead-free and phthalates-free products must still be tested...
The law as it stands now, makes no exception for quantities made, where the garments/products are made or anything else. Nor is there an exception for unadorned fabric components, unfinished wood components, materials which, by their nature, are free of lead and phthalates.

Guilty until proven innocent...
Also, the law takes a “guilty until proven innocent” approach, which would treat a handmade, unfinished wooden toy that doesn’t meet the certification deadline as a “banned hazardous substance” which would be illegal to distribute in this country, she said.

This legislation is also retroactive for any pre-existing inventory as of Feb. 10, 2009. This means that everything on the shelves in those big (or small) stores will also be “banned, hazardous substances” – contraband.

"Larger corporations that can afford testing will incur thousands, maybe millions of dollars in fees, and this expense will be handed down to the consumer, probably making the prices for children’s products go through the roof."

No more selling old things on eBay or Craigslist...
"This also means that after that date, even selling your kids old things on eBay or Craigslist will be illegal. Charities will not be able to accept donations without a certificate of compliance either.

"February 10, 2009 is being dubbed “National Bankruptcy Day” by many people in the apparel and toy industry. If this legislation is not amended, it will affect everyone from port workers to parents looking for legal products.

"Billions of dollars worth of children’s products will have to be destroyed because they can’t be legally sold, and this will cause major environmental problems," she said.

Fluhr says that she's all for higher safety standards and keeping the kids safe -- however this law is overreacting. "It will put thousands of manufacturers of children’s products out of business -hurting our economy and causing even more loan defaults. Though this legislation was well-intentioned, it cannot be allowed to stand."

"This law affects every stay at home mom trying to help put food on the table and every grandmother knitting blankets for the local craft fair. It makes the thousands of us who have found a niche in the burgeoning handmade market have to make a tough decision – continue to produce items illegally and possible incur a $100,000 fine, or close up shop and maybe not be able to pay the mortgage this month...."

How to object to this Act

She urged home-crafters and micro-business owners to lodge their objections no later than January 30 2009 to the Consumer Product Safety Commission's Office of the Secretary, email Sec102ComponentPawrtsTesting@cpsc.gov . They can be faxed to (USA) 301 504-0127

Snailmail: The Office of the Secretary, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Room 502, 4330 East-West Highway, Bethesda, Maryland 20814 US. Comments should be captioned: Section 102 Mandatory Third-Party Testing of Component Parts'
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Millions of homecrafters face bankruptcy after January 20 2009 from new law

I will continue to post information as I find it...Please spread the word. Carolyn

by Adriana Stuijt.
The January 20 2009 deadline for millions of American homecrafters to object to a new law requiring expensive testing of their products, is approaching fast. Child-products without certificates proving they have no lead content, will have to be scrapped.
Buy an ad on DigitalJournal.com
The new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act – passed hastily to bar poisonous foreign products – also will require millions of American homecrafters to have each of their products tested at huge cost, ranging from $500 to $4000 per product – including their old stock which was manufactured before this law had even been thought up. See law here

Formal complaints against this act must be lodged before January 20 2009 Comments must be labeled: Section 102 Mandatory Third-Party Testing of Component Parts'. Lodge complaints here

Without the CPSI certificate of compliance, millions of homecrafters selling their products on EBay, at fairs, in home-shops and at charity shops face conviction under this Act, which goes into effect on February 10 this year. Conviction carries tens of thousands of dollars in fines and potentially even jail time.

No more selling old things on eBay or Craigslist...
And all the products sold on eBay or Craigslist will also require such certificates of compliance or they will be breaking the law. Also affected: millions of charities, which will no longer be able to accept donations without a certificate of compliance. And this certificate can only be obtained through expensive testing by an SCPC-accredited laboratory." Without such certificates, billions of dollars worth of uncertified children’s products will have to be destroyed because they can’t be legally sold without an CPSI-certificate of compliance, and this will cause major environmental problems," said Massachusetts campaigner Kiki Fluhr.

The handmade toys alliance is also up in arms.
They warn: 'The CPSIA simply forgot to exclude the class of children's goods that have earned and kept the public's trust: Toys, clothes, and accessories made in the US, Canada, and Europe. The result, unless the law is modified, is that handmade children's products will no longer be legal in the US.
"And if this law had been applied to the food industry, every farmers market in the country would be forced to close while Kraft and Dole prospered...'See

The Act was drawn up after last year's massive recalls of dozens of dangerous, lead-tainted Chinese toys and children's products containing lethal phthalates.

This law however also includes all the products made in the USA, including homecrafters’ hand-knitted, quilted and hand-sewn clothes, wooden toys and the myriad of other products for children which traditionally have been sold by arts-and-crafts shops countrywide for decades. These are usually produced by cash-strapped people at home. Read page 7 of the act - with reference to the required testing of children's products here

Little time to object:
Homecrafters say there has been very little opportunity to campaign to get this aspect of the law changed before the deadline. The presidential elections and the holiday season have greatly hampered these efforts. The law was passed in August without much fanfare nor much publicity – -- and it was passed very hastily, with very little input from the country’s millions of homecrafters, they complain.

The homecrafters’ campaign to have the law changed before the objection deadline of January 20 this year was kicked off by one Massachusetts homecrafter, Kiki Fluhr, a young mom who runs the All the Numbers Handmade shop from her home. She refers to the law as the National Bankruptcy Act and predicts that tons of beautiful homecrafted stock will have to be thrown away.

She agrees wholeheartedly that the children must be protected from harmful chemicals. "However this law, as it is currently written, will affect millions of makers of handmade toys and apparel for children - the very people who many of us now turn to for safe toys, clothing and decor for our children. At present, there are no exemptions for small businesses and “micro” manufacturers like myself and most handcraft artisans."

See our previous story: here

Kuhr says all the homecrafters of the US 'will become criminals from February 10 if they continue to sell their homemade stock without the required certificate of compliance to prove that it had been tested for dangerous contents such as lead'.

Homecrafters now have to make a tough decision: whether to sell their stock without the certificate and face massive fines and even imprisonment under this new law, or scrapping all their old stock and going out of business.

She says the new law will turn micro-businesses like hers into illegal manufacturers of "hazardous substances' overnight. Kuhr says that ‘even granny's home-made quilts sold in the local arts-and-crafts shop won't be exempt from this new law’. And the pre-existing stock from homecraft-shops also will have to be dumped as ‘contraband', she said, because the Act is retroactive, and without the required certificate of compliance, all such products will be deemed to contain 'banned, hazardous substances' after February 10.

Fluhr says that she has spent the last six months growing her business, 'working incredibly hard to create a great product. ' And while it's laudable that the new law bans lead and phthalates (a chemical used in some vinyl products) from all children’s toys, apparel, decor, and accessories, it's a disaster for micro-businesses like hers.

She works with organic materials -- and traditional handcrafters like her are very conscious of the safety of their products. However they can't afford to have each product tested at the cost of $4,000 per item to get their certificates of compliance. So they will not only be forced out of business, but their pre-existing stock will be outlawed.

Manufacturers -- all these micro-businesses included -- will have to obtain a certificate of compliance: anyone who makes clothing, toys etc regardless of volume, needs to have each and every component tested by a CPSC-accredited laboratory at huge cost for each individual product. "This includes not just toys, but clothing, jewelry, blankets, sheets, books, bibs, strollers, carriers, and anything else that a child younger than 12 might come in contact with," she said.

"These tests have to be done at a CSPC accredited lab, and cost as much as $4,000 with an average of around $500. So for me, I offer three different types of dresses. Each dress contains two different fabrics, as well as buttons, and thread (each of which needs to be tested), so that’s potentially $2,000 to test one dress. But I have three styles, so that’s $6,000. And when I get a new bolt of fabric, I need to start all over again. I can only make 15 dresses from one bolt, so there is no way I could make the testing financially feasible".

Even known lead-free and phthalates-free products must still be tested...
The law as it stands now, makes no exception for quantities made, where the garments/products are made or anything else. Nor is there an exception for unadorned fabric components, unfinished wood components, materials which, by their nature, are free of lead and phthalates.

Guilty until proven innocent...
Also, the law takes a “guilty until proven innocent” approach, which would treat a handmade, unfinished wooden toy that doesn’t meet the certification deadline as a “banned hazardous substance” which would be illegal to distribute in this country, she said.

"Larger corporations that can afford testing will incur thousands, maybe millions of dollars in fees, and this expense will be handed down to the consumer, probably making the prices for children’s products go through the roof." Fluhr: "This law will put thousands of manufacturers of children’s products out of business -hurting our economy and causing even more loan defaults. Though this legislation was well-intentioned, it cannot be allowed to stand."

"This law affects every stay at home mom trying to help put food on the table and every grandmother knitting blankets for the local craft fair. It makes the thousands of us who have found a niche in the burgeoning handmade market have to make a tough decision – continue to produce items illegally and possible incur a $100,000 fine, or close up shop and maybe not be able to pay the mortgage this month...."

How to object to this Act
She urged home-crafters and micro-business owners to lodge their objections no later than January 20 2009 to the Consumer Product Safety Commission's Office of the Secretary, email

Sec102ComponentPawrtsTesting@cpsc.gov . They can be faxed to (USA) 301 504-0127

Snailmail:
The Office of the Secretary,
Consumer Product Safety Commission,
Room 502, 4330 East-West Highway,
Bethesda, Maryland 20814 US.

Comments should be captioned: Section 102 Mandatory Third-Party Testing of Component Parts'
article:264507:237::0

Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act

This Act, passed by congress will go into affect February 10, 2009.
Information regarding the act is not just important for large manufacturers or even small businesses making a few children's items - it is for everyone.
The new changes in the law will directly affect millions.
Do you buy any toys for children 12 and under?
Do you buy any clothes for children 12 and under?
Do you hand-down clothes from your children to friends, family, under-privileged children or even donate them to a charity?

If you do, affective February 10, 2009 unless that item has a compliance tag stating is conforms to the new regulations you can no longer do anything except throw said item away.
You cannot post it on FreeCycle to give away, eBay or Craig’s list to sell, donate it or anything else.

Yes, the Consumer Products Safety Commission has interpreted the law to be retroactive, therefore it applies to all used clothing.

We all want children to be as safe as they possibly can, however, by pushing this Act and its subsequent changes through, there was not enough time to review every possible consequence of the law.
Many small and home-based businesses will be put out of business.
Do we really need that in this time of economic uncertainty?

The law was meant to affect the large-scale manufacturers of children's clothing, jewelry and toys and those are the very business who are being helped by the Act.
Who is able to afford the testing and makes many, many of the same toy or clothing item?
The large manufacturers.

So, please show Congress and our in-coming President that this law is not feasible and it affects so many!

Here is a link to Change.org which has other resources for you to object this law as it affects small businesses: Save Handmade Toys from the CPSIA
A link to the Handmade Toy Alliance's Information on the Act: http://www.handmadetoyalliance.org/Home
A digital journal article about the Act: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/264507
A link to the Consumer Products Safety Commission’s form for questions on the new law:http://www.cpsc.gov/cgibin/newleg.aspx

Through those links you can find information on contacting your representatives in Congress and your Senators.
Please, please understand that as currently written this law does not only affect those that make handmade or small-scale manufacture items or even the large-scale manufacturers.
Take the few minutes needed to tell someone that this law will affect so many.

Posted by Jamie of ItsieBitsies at 9:58:00 AM

Monday, January 5, 2009

The CPSIA puts handmade toys and kids clothes in danger of extinction. Like, soon.

The CPSIA puts handmade toys and kids clothes in danger of extinction. Like, soon.
by Mom101

This week I got an email addressed to me at Cool Mom Picks, the shopping blog that I co-founded, and it nearly broke my heart.

It was from a mom in Ohio who, for the first time, was able to make enough money selling handmade barrettes at her etsy shop this year that she could afford to stay home with her small son. But thanks to the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act which passed this year and introduces such prohibitive testing and labeling regulations for kids products, she's likely to be out of business in two months.

In fact the act threatens to put so many crafters, toy artisans, retailers and small business owners out of work that the day it goes into effect, February 10, is being referred to as National Bankruptcy Day.

Like the economy isn't awesome enough already.

Think: The stay-at-home mom selling beautiful handmade rag dolls, the artist in Wisconsin who's been hand-whittling natural wood trains for thirty years, the ebay-ing grandma who knits baby booties and sells them for extra income, the adorable kids superhero cape maker at your local craft bazaar.

All gone. Only to be replaced by plastic garbage from companies who can afford to comply with the new law.

Now to be fair, the act is well-intended. Congress created it as a reaction to last year's toy recalls, with the aim of getting lead (and presumably the date rape drug) out of toys - something we can all get behind I'd think.

Unfortunately it seems a little hastily assembled, and doesn't account for the fact that not every child's product in America is produced by the thousands in Taiwan by deep-pocketed manufacturers.

Jen, the jewelry designer and blogger behind Mama's Magic, explains why small artists can't reasonably comply:

It is the responsibility of the manufacturer to do this testing, regardless of how small the business. These tests run into the hundreds of dollars. And every piece of my jewelry is one of a kind, so wouldrequire a separate set of tests. It isn't enough to test a single prototype. Since each piece of my jewelry sells for $50 or less, the math just doesn't add up.

It isn't enough to test the components, nor is it sufficient to rely on your suppliers' certification of the safety of the materials. Apparently, according to the CPSIA, simply knitting yarn into a baby blanket or putting beads on a cord mysteriously changes the composition of said materials and requires a whole 'nother set of tests, because they might have suddenly turned toxic. There are no exemptions for small businesses and "micro" manufacturers like myself and most handcraft artisans.

Small artists have already earned the public trust. They're in fact who parents all turned to last year when Thomas train sets and Dora action figures were being recalled every other day. They're willing to be accountable for the safety and quality of their products; they just need different methods for accountability than the Mattel’s and Fisher Prices of the world.

Like maybe we can presume that natural woods and finishes don't require heavy metal testing. Or we can transfer some of the testing burden onto the manufacturers of the raw materials like fabric and paint.

Jen Taggart at The Smart Mama has a terrific, thorough post on the act - Jen is an attorney, mother, and advocate on environmental standards for children’s products. Even she concludes:

Think about it - does it make sense for an organic cotton t-shirt maker without any decals or logos that might have lead test for lead? Or a manufacturer of woods toy[s] finished with beeswax test for lead?

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say no. No, it doesn't make sense.

This is a very personal issue for me. As I wrote on Mom-101 this week, I grew up with a single, work-at-home mother who briefly ran a small children's wear company.

I remember the pride of seeing the most beautiful little things emerge from the attic which served as a sewing room and design studio: Creamy velour playsuits, satin-appliqu├ęd buntings (hey, it was the 70's) lace Christening dresses so spectacular that they appeared in the Smithsonian catalog. What was most incredible to me was that inside each tiny collar lay a satin label with my very own mother's name. It was like magic.

Eventually she went out of business, in part because of her refusal to ship her patterns overseas to low-wage workers. (Go mom!) I see that same pattern emerging here. Or as Katie White says:

Basically, everything will now come from China, which is ironic seeing how it was their sub-par safety regulations that was the catalyst for this piece of legislation in the first place.

At Cool Mom Picks, we set up a Save Handmade! resource page to provide a list of actions you can take to help, including:

-Writing to your congressperson or senator. The Nature's Child blog has some outstanding tips on how to do this.

-Voting for changes to the act on Change.Org, digg-style, where the top thirty issues will be presented to the Obama administration on inauguration day

-Checking in with the Handmade Toy Alliance (not just for toys) and the CSPIA threads at the Fashion Inucbator forums which are now open to the public.

And then, there's what Anarchy in the OK recommends:

STOP BUYING CR*P for your kids. Letters are well and good, but the world will really hear us if we put our money where our mouth is. While it's still legal, cast your monetary vote for handmade this Christmas.

It's a thought.

Liz Gumbinner is a Contributing Editor to BlogHer and the co-founder and editor of Cool Mom Picks, a blog devoted to showcasing what's cool for parents, particularly from the handmade community.

Submitted by Mom101 (view blog)