The following information was taken from Handmade Toy Alliance.
On February 10th, 2009, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) will go into effect. Among other things, the CPSIA 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.
All of these changes will be fairly easy for large, multinational toy manufacturers to comply with. Large manufacturers who make thousands of units of each toy have very little incremental cost to pay for testing and update their molds to include batch labels.
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.
The CPSIA simply forgot to exclude the class of children’s goods that have earned and kept the public’s trust: Toys, clothes, and accessories made in the US, Canada, and Europe. The result, unless the law is modified, is that handmade children’s products will no longer be legal in the US.
Here’s how you can help (information courtesy of Cool Mom Picks):
- Find your congress person and senators and write a letter like the sample here. (Particularly if they serve on the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection or the House Committee on Small Business.)
- Send an email directly to the CPSC or contact chairperson Nancy Nord at 301-504-792.
- Vote for amending the law on Change.org, digg style: With enough votes it will be presented to President Obama in January!
- Place the Save Handmade! button on your blog or website to help spread the word to everyone you know who cares about protecting the little guy and preserving beautiful items made with love for our children.