Saturday, December 20, 2008
save the toys
have you been hearing about the actions the CPSIA is taking to regulate toy companies? on one hand it is fantastic news! no more pthalates? no more toxic paint? who can argue with that? however, if the language in the current legislation is not rewritten, this will be all encompassing. what this means for small, home based artisans is that their livelihood will be taken. what this means for me is that i will not be able to buy that beautiful maple teether i've been eyeing on etsy. my ability to support crafts people will be taken from me. i no likey.
here are the facts from the handmade toy alliance:
In 2007, large toy manufacturers who outsource their production to China and other developing countries violated the public's trust. They were selling toys with dangerously high lead content, toys with unsafe small part, toys with improperly secured and easily swallowed small magnets, and toys made from chemicals that made kids sick. Almost every problem toy in 2007 was made in China.
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 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 toy makers 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.
If this law had been applied to the food industry, every farmers market in the country would be forced to close while Kraft and Dole prospered.
How You can Help:
Please write to your United States Congress Person and Senator to request changes in the CPSIA to save handmade toys and children's products. Use our sample letter or write your own. You can find your Congress Person here and Senator here.
if you agree what this organization is trying to do, please take a minute to visit their website and send a letter.