Saturday, January 10, 2009
Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008
Over the last few days I have received several e-mails from other crafters about the CPSIA and it's negative impact on small businesses. I think that this is an important issue, so I'm blogging about it in hopes that you will help to amend this legislation.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act is legislation passed in response to the barrage of unsafe imported toys over the past 2 years. The goal of the legislation is to protect children from lead and/or other dangerous content in toys and clothing. Overall, this is a very good thing. We all want to keep our children safe!

The scope of the law, however is too broad, and the effect is that thousands of small businesses in the US will be forced to cease operations because they can not comply with the law.

Quote from Change.Org

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.
As of Thursday, the legislation has been changed to exclude thrift stores and second hand stores from the mandatory testing.

No change has yet been made for small businesses/manufacturers in the United States. This means that a wood carver who sells handmade trains or cars from his garage, or a crocheter who sells handmade childrens or baby clothing will no longer be able to sell their products without a huge investment in required tests.

I care about protecting small businesses. I also care about allowing individual crafters the opportunity to sell their work. I worry about what this law might mean down the road to Organizations like Operation Marine Corps Kids, Project Linus and hundreds of other charitable groups that collect handmade items to distribute to children in need.

I'm hoping that this law can be changed to focus on the international businesses who have been wreckless in the past, and to allow small businesses here in the U.S. to continue offering quality products.

You can help, by supporting the request for change.

Go to the Handmade Toy Alliance webpage for more information on how to help, and place your vote to help save small businesses at

Thank you!


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