Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Save Handmade Toys
Posted: 29 Dec 2008 11:01 PM CST
This past August, in response to the massive toy recalls, Congress passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) , which bans lead and phthalates in toys, mandates third-party testing and certification for all toys and requires toy makers to permanently label each toy with a date and batch number. Sounds great, right? Of course, we all want our children to have safe toys. However, the CPSIA is not the right answer-at least not the way it is written now. It does not take into account small toy manufacturers who cannot pay thousands of dollars to have EACH toy tested.The Act does not only apply to toys-it applies to ALL products for children 12 and under. That includes cloth diapers, clothing, shoes, hats, school supplies, car seats...anything and everything that is for children 12 and under.According to the Handmade Toy Alliance, these are some examples of the negative impact the CPSIA will have:
For small American, Canadian, and European toymakers and manufacturers of children's products, however, the costs of mandatory testing will likely drive them out of business.
A toymaker, for example, who makes wooden cars in his garage in Maine to supplement his income cannot afford the $4,000 fee per toy that testing labs are charging to assure compliance with the CPSIA.
A work at home mom in Minnesota who makes cloth diapers to sell online 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 for testing on every toy they import.
And even the handful of larger toy makers 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.This will put a lot of people out of business. It will affect small companies, Etsy shop owners, moms selling handmade felt food, baby hair clips, leggings, dolls, etc from their homes...all out of business because they will not be able to comply with the mandatory testing due to the high cost. In fact, it is already happening. A European toy company, called Selecta has already pulled out of the American toy market in anticipation of the new regulations, which will take effect in February 2009. Of course, all of this will be a big blow to our already hurting economy! Not to mention, that our already limited sources for "green" toys or children's products to will be essentially non-existent.Honestly, I can't imagine being limited to only buying mass produced products. That would be so sad and utterly boring. Not to mention, that handmade toy makers, small "green" or wooden toy companies, or any of the businesses and people affected had NOTHING to do with the mass recalls. It is not fair or just to put the very people who have always provided us with safe children's products out of business.What You Can Do:1. Sign the online petition to Save Handmade Toys in the USA from the CPSIA.2. Write to your United States Congress Person and Senator to request changes in the CPSIA to save handmade toys. Use the Handmade Toy Alliance sample letter or write your own. You can find your Congress Person here and Senator here.3. Vote for amending the law at Change.org. If it gets sufficient votes, it will be presented to President-Elect Barack Obama in January.4. Send an email directly to the CPSC letting them know how you feel.5. Grab the Save Handmade Toys button on my sidebar and spread the word.