Today I became aware of a very serious concern for anyone who makes or loves handmade items for children.
Without OUR TIMELY ACTION asking Congress to amend a new law, untested handmade toys, clothing, and anything else child-related will become ILLEGAL in the United States.
This sounds insane and alarmist, but apparently it's true: the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) passed by Congress in August 2008 could literally shut down independent and small-scale toy producers by forcing them to comply with prohibitively expensive certifications. I've been reading up on it searching for a loophole, but there seem to be none, and it's up to us to make one.
The fact is that starting Feb. 10, 2009, any item intended for children under the age of 12 that hasn't been tested by a third party (at a prohibitive cost of up to $4000 per toy) and certified safe will be illegal to sell in this country. That is crazy!
Seems the problem is that the well-intentioned Congressmen who created this law to protect kids from lead paint and phthalates -- a good thing -- didn't take into account the many
handmade or small-batch products that have nothing to do with lead or phthalates who can't afford the fees for outside testing -- a bad thing.
So, we have to take action and demand that the law be amended to protect independent, small-scale producers from dire unintended consequences.
Call your representatives and tell them to please adjust the law to exempt small-scale domestic producers.
Please take a few minutes to learn more about the CPSIA and make at least one action (sign the petition, call your rep, pass this on to a friend, etc.). Here are some resources:
Contact Your Congressman
Sign petition from Handmade Toy Alliance
Vote to Save Handmade Toys on change.org
Handmade Toy Alliance website (includes their proposal to improve the CPSIA)
Roundup of Info from Cool Mom Picks
Read Etsy's open letter on the CPSIA
Join the indie protest by mailing sponsoring Congressman Bobby Rush your handmade toy labeled "Hazardous Substance"
Thanks to Cathy of California for blogging about this and hipping me to the situation.
And again, PLEASE take action -- this law is real and it is bad not only for those who care about handmade, but really for the prospects of independent producers in all industries.
Thank you for your efforts.
Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.