Thursday, January 29, 2009

It's Time to Fight the Power!

CPSIA Blog-in day

We interrupt the usually cheery tone of this blog with a serious topic. You're probably already well aware of the issues connected with the CPSIA, but nevertheless it is time for me to add my squeak to the growing roar of protest. I'm joining Sarah Jane and a host of other bloggers who are posting about this today. Please take the time to educate yourself on this and seriously consider the consequences if something isn't done to amend it.


When congress passed the CPSIA (the Consumer Product Safety Inspection Act) in August 2008, they were intending to protect companies from selling harmful products. All products intended for children under 12 years old must go through thorough and stringent testing. The CPSIA bans lead and phthalates in children’s products, mandates third party testing and certification, and requires manufacturers of all goods for children under the age of 12 to permanently label each item with a date and batch number.

Most people know someone who will be affected because most people know people who have children, will buy something for a child within their lifetime, or have children themselves. Most small businesses and crafters who sell children’s products care about this. They will be put out of business by this law due to the prohibitive testing costs. Their products might be safe, but they can’t afford to “prove” it. Many parents care about this, their choices for their children could be significantly limited if the mid-size, small, and micro manufacturers all go out of business due to this.

Who should be concerned?

To the Parents of Young Students:
Due to the new law, expect to see the cost of school supplies sky rocket. While those paper clips weren’t originally intended for your student to use, they will need to be tested now that your 11-year-old needs them for his school project. This law applies to any and all school supplies (textbooks, pencils, crayons, paper, etc.) being used by children under 12.

To the Avid Reader:
Due to the new law, all children’s books will be pulled from library and school shelves, as there is no exemption for them. That’s okay though, there’s always television. Our children don’t need to learn the love of reading after all.
Article from the American Library Association

To the Lover of All Things Handmade:
Due to the new law, you will now be given a cotton ball and an instruction manual so you can make it yourself since that blanket you originally had your eye on for $50 will now cost you around $1,000 after it’s passed testing. It won’t even be the one-of-a-kind blanket you were hoping for. Items are destroyed in the testing process making one-of-a-kind items virtually impossible. So that gorgeous hand-knit hat you bought your child this past winter won’t be available next winter.

To the Environmentalist:
Due to the new law, all items in non-compliance will now be dumped into our already overflowing landfills. Imagine not just products from the small business owners, but the Big Box Stores as well. You can’t sell it so you must toss it. Or be potentially sued for selling it. You can’t even give them away. If you are caught, it is still a violation.

To the Second-Hand Shopper:
Due to the new law, you will now need to spend $20 for that brand new pair of jeans for your 2-year old, rather than shop at the Goodwill for second hand. Many resale shops are eliminating children’s items all together to avoid future lawsuits.

To the Entrepreneur:
Due to this new law, you will be forced to adhere to strict testing of your unique products or discontinue to make and/or sell them. Small businesses will be likely to be unable to afford the cost of testing and be forced to close up shop. Due to the current economic state, you’ll have to hope for the best when it comes to finding a new job in Corporate America.

To the Antique Toy Collector:
Due to the new law, you’d better start buying now because it’s all going to private collection and will no longer be available to purchase. “Because the new rules apply retroactively, toys and clothes already on the shelf will have to be thrown out if they aren’t certified as safe.”

To the American Economy:
Already struggling under an economy that hasn’t been this weak in decades, the American economy will be hit harder with the inevitable loss of jobs and revenues from suppliers, small businesses and consumers. The required testing is far too costly and restrictive for small businesses or individuals to undertake.

To the Global Economy:
Due to this new law, many foreign manufacturers have already pulled out of the US market. You can imagine the impact of this on their businesses.

Click here for a recent article from Forbes

And for those of you prepared to be stupefied and boggled, The New Law.

What can I do to help?
Call your Congressman (the time for letters and emails has passed), ask them to call for a hearing from the Energy and Commerce Committee to discuss this new law. Find out their position on this important issue. It has become a rather partisan issue, and that helps NO ONE. Encourage them to take a bipartisan look at the big picture here.


Image courtesy hasenpfeffer incorproated.

Blog written by Jenny B. From Allsorts

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