I learned this week that Congress passed the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act,a law which goes into effect in February 2009 and willabsolutely decimate small businesses. How? In an effort to protect consumers against the dangers of toys and other items made with unacceptable lead levels in China, they are requiring all manufacturers to have every single type of product tested by third-party labs. In their rush to pass this legislation, they forgot all about the small toy manufacturers, independent artisans,and crafters who cannot afford these fees of $4,000 per item type. Ironically, it is the products made by these small companies that are least likely to contain these nasty toxins in the first place!
This will affect all of thecool mompreneurs we’ve written about and come to know and love overthe last five years of CBB, and anyone who dreams of making somethingfrom home. It’s not just the hair clipmakers, it also affects the successful companies who have achieved somesuccess but not enough that thousands of dollars per new product won’tdestroy their bottom line and put them out of business.
Together with your help, all of us who love handmade toys, clothing and other cool products can try to stop this law from going into effect. Click More to learn more about this and how you can help!
Since the actual Act is too bogged down with legalese for laypeople, here’s are some tangible examples (borrowed from the Handmade Toy Alliance):
- A toymaker who makes wooden cars in his garage in Maine cannot afford the $4,000 fee per toy that testinglabs are charging to assure compliance with the CPSIA.
- A work at home mom in Minnesota who makes dolls to sell at craftfairs must choose either to violate the law or cease operations.
- A small toy retailer in Vermont who imports wooden toys from Europe,which has long had stringent toy safety standards, must now pay fortesting on every toy they import.
- And even the handful of larger toy makers who still employ workers inthe United States face increased costs to comply with the CPSIA, eventhough American-made toys had nothing to do with the toy safetyproblems of 2007.
The CPSIA simply forgot to exclude the class of toys that have earnedand kept the public’s trust: Toys made in the US, Canada, and Europe.The result, unless the law is modified, is that handmade toys will nolonger be legal in the US. If this law had been applied to the foodindustry, every farmers market in the country would be forced to closewhile Kraft and Dole prospered.
It’s not just the manufacturers who will be affected- think of where you buy these cool products. Your local toy store who stocks the toys you can’t find at Toys R Us, the people they employ, etc.
The Handmade Toy Alliance has specific suggestions on how to amend the Act and they’re quite reasonable.
Here’s an easy way to show your support. Visit Change.org and log your support- if it gets enough votes, it will be shown to President Obama in January.
Then let’s urge the folks in Washington who passed this law to amend it and save small businesses! Read my letter below and send similar ones to your Representatives, Senators and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.
For more info: http://coolmompicks.com/savehandmade/