CPSIA - change the Law

9:08 AM Posted In , , , , , Edit This 0 Comments »
No photos today, I'm afraid. My system crashed Tuesday and I've lost everything, at least temporarily. Friends assure me that thyere May be a way to recover my financial data and our photos from the hard drive. Meanwhile, I'm learning how to use Vista on our new system.

A lack of photos seems appropriate to my subject today. Can you imagine what life would be like without the millions of American handcrafters and artists like me? If CIPSA goes into efect, it could very well shut us all down.

Here's a quote from Change.org that explains the situation:

In 2007, large toy manufacturers who outsource their production to China and other developing countries violated the public's trust. They were selling toys containing dangerously high lead content, unsafe small parts, and chemicals that made kids sick.

"The United States Congress rightly recognized that the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) lacked the authority and staffing to prevent dangerous toys from being imported into the US. So, they passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in August 2008. Among other things, 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.

"All of these changes will be fairly easy for large, multinational companies to comply with. Large manufacturers who make thousands of units of each item have very little incremental cost to pay for testing and updating their systems to include batch labels. Small businesses however, will likely be driven out of business by the costs of mandatory testing, to the tune of as much as $4,000 or more per item. And the few larger manufacturers who still employ workers in the United States face increased costs to comply with the CPSIA, even though American-made toys had nothing to do with the toy safety problems of 2007.

"Anyone who produces or sells any of the following new or used items will be required to comply with the law: toys, books, clothing, art, educational supplies, materials for the learning disabled, bicycles, and more. Any uncertified item intended for children under the age of 12 will be considered contraband after February 10, 2009. It will be illegal to sell or give these items away to charities, and the government will require their destruction or permanent disposal, resulting in millions of tons of unnecessary waste, and placing an enormous strain on our landfills."

The law is already having an impact on families and communities in the U.S. This is what Dawnella of MothersMoon over on Etsy had to say yesterday:

"Today was a sad day for me... I went into the store front for the work at home moms co-op I have been a part of for two years, and picked up all my goods as the store will be closing at the end of the month. With more than half the inventory being items handmade by local moms...moms chosing to stay home with thier children to make their lives better...and the other products coming from small manufacturers (such as Sarah's Silks) there would be nothing left to sell if this law takes effect. This is/was a shop mainly of baby goods...cloth diapers, baby slings, quilts, natural soaps, nursing necklaces, handwoven bassinetts, wooden toys, creative playthings...but it was more, it was a place where moms came in to support each other. Sometimes purchasing items made by those other moms, but more than that a place to talk about their pregnancies, ask questions of other moms, take babywearing classes or cloth diapering classes...a local resource for finding breastfeeding support groups, and getting the scoop on local peditricians or midwives. Not only is the town losing a business filled with locally made goods, but the town is losing a vital community element."

So, if you want to continue to see, make, buy and sell handcrafted good of all kinds across America, please contact your legislators and visit Change.org to vote for amending CIPSA. The grassroots demands are working - CIPA has already proposed an ammendment to exclude consignment shops and resellers, but they have not yet made exceptions for American cottage industry. A reasonable ammendment might include a mandate that crafters and artists provide a list of all materials used in the manufacture of their items and any safety precautions parents should take but would remove the requirement to submit a sample of each item produced for expensive testing. We know the problems are coming from China and large industry. Most crafters I know don't mix up any lead based paint to sell to toddlers in their home studio.


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