The first I saw of the Consumer Product Improvement Act (CPSIA) was through Cool Mom Picks – I gave it a skim and mentally set it aside for later (like after Christmas travel). Then I received email from Mother Nurture, then I started seeing links to it everywhere – you’d think I’d be more up on it being that Comfed Out Kaiser is my biz, but it almost fell through the cracks.
The concept is good – let’s test the stuff available for sale to our kids. However, it appears to be geared for large corporations, big box stores and mass production – with a side effect of decimating small business –
“With this act going into effect February 10 2009 so many people we love will be affected: Moms who sew beautiful handmade waldorf dolls out of home, artists who have spent decades hand-carving trucks and cars out of natural woods, that guy at the craft show who sold you the cute handmade puzzle–even larger US companies who employ local workers and have not once had any sort of safety issue will no longer be able to sell their goods.”
I’m all for adding my voice, but sometimes finding the words is hard – There is a form letter from the Handmade Toy Alliance that I have used as a base for my own letter (their letter has some glaring grammar errors that drive me a little nutty). The HTA link also has contact information to help you find who to send your letter to. Use their letter, use my letter (with attribution to me and the Handmade Toy Alliance if you publish it online) but please say something! You can also vote here:
From: [your name and address]
To: [your congress person or senator]
Re: Changes needed to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) to Save Handmade Toys in the USA
Dear [your congress person or senator],
The goal of this letter is to ask you to request the Consumer Product Safety Commission to make some very reasonable exclusions in their interpretation of the law as they continue their rule making process.
Like many people, I am concerned about the dangerous and poisonous toys that large toy manufacturers have been selling to our nation’s families. I am pleased that Congress acted quickly to protect America’s children by enacting the CPSIA.
However, I am very concerned that the CPSIA’s mandates for third party testing and labeling will have a dramatic and negative effect on small toy makers in the USA, Canada, and Europe, whose toy safety record has always been exemplary. It will also devastate small manufacturers of children’s clothes and other handmade goods for children.
Because of the fees charged by third party testing companies, many manufacturers, especially makers of beautiful wooden toys and unique children’s clothes across the nation will be driven out of business. Their cottage workshops simply do not make enough money to afford a potential $4,000 price tag per toy that third party testers are charging. A toy with a wholesale price of $10 would have to sell 400 units just to cover the price of testing.
In the current economic climate, I chose to spend my Christmas present budget at the smaller online stores Good for the Kids (www.goodforthekids.com) and KangarooBoo (www.kangarooboo.com). I like their products, appreciate the exemplary customer service and feel better about supporting a small business over a large corporation who would not notice my $50 purchase.
I urge you to quickly request the Consumer Product Safety Commission to make some very reasonable exclusions in their interpretation of the law as they continue their rulemaking process.
- Rational exclusions from lead testing of materials including wood, paper, cotton, and other materials known by science to not contain lead.
- The CPSC should recognize that the concept of batches does not pertain to small manufacturers or certain industries such as clothing in the same way that it does with large toy manufacturers and should provide exemptions to batch labeling based upon the production modes of each manufacturer.
- There should be mechanisms put in place to protect or provide relief for micro-businesses. The model the FDA uses (http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/sbnle.html) to exempt small producers from food labeling requirements is a model to guide this relief.
These toy makers and crafters have earned and kept the public’s trust. They provide jobs for hundreds and quality items for thousands. Their unique businesses should be protected. Please visit www.handmadetoyalliance.org to learn more about this issue and see the attached Petition to the CPSC from the National Association of Manufacturers.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.