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If you haven’t heard about this yet, please read up!

The government screwed up. The royally screwed up, by allowing unsafe toys from China and other toys to be imported and sold to Americans. They admit that. But now they are taking steps to “fix” things, that, as we Americans are used to, actually make it worse.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act will require anyone who makes any item for children under 12 to have the item batch tested at costs of up  to $4000 per item. Companies like Little Tykes can handle such a cost, sure, but what about people like me who want to make and sell wooden toys? Keep in mind they aren’t tested for SAFETY – if the toy comes apart or whatever – only that lead and other contaminants are at a “safe” level. I’d be buying local wood, use American made milk paint, safe sealants – nothing from overseas, nothing that has any bad stuff in it, but each batch I would make (profiting about $5 a toy times maybe 20 toys) would cost me $4000 to have tested.

Insanity? Why not ban toys made in china????

Here’s some more info:

http://www.change.org/ideas/view/save_handmade_toys_from_the_cpsia

A Proposal From the handmadetoyalliance.org:

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.

There is a clear disconnect between the sweeping nature of this law, and the narrow range of products that were problematic in 2007. The CPSIA applies standards that were put in place in reaction to the sale of toys contaminated with lead paint and toxic plastics. Rather than focus on these materials, this law places a guilty until proven innocent mentality on all children’s product producers by imposing mandatory testing and certification, and in the process will kill an entire industry.

Thriving small businesses are crucial to the financial health of our nation. Let’s amend the CPSIA so that all businesses large and small are able to comply and survive!

3 Responses to If you haven’t heard about this yet, please read up!

  1. Nancy Bond January 17, 2009 at 7:55 am #

    It’s never easy, is it? It seems there’s always some aspect of government “scrutiny” that makes it hard for the little guy. I hope this doesn’t affect your business negatively — the small craftsman shouldn’t have to submit to the same process as “the big guys” anyway. Then again, I suppose there are some unscrupulous crafters who wouldn’t pay as much attention to safety as you do. It’s a real Catch 22. Good luck.

  2. Cecilia January 17, 2009 at 10:23 am #

    Thanks for spreading the word!

    There’s a fascinating conference call featuring CPSIA experts including Dan Marshall of the Handmade Toy Alliance and others. You can listen to it on the Healthy Child website:
    http://healthychild.org/blog/comments/cpsia_conference_call_part_2_tuesday_january_20th/

    Cecilia Leibovitz
    http://www.craftsburykids.com
    http://www.handmadetoyalliance.org

  3. Daphne January 19, 2009 at 3:04 pm #

    I have a friend who makes handmade stuffed animals. The are oh so adorable. They have such character. I love them all.

    It just seems so wrong to me to put all the little people out of business. Only the large corporations will survive unless they fix their misguided attempt at dealing with the dangerous toy issue.

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