Consumers beware

For weeks I have been trying to figure out just what I wanted to say about the new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). I have worked my way through shock, denial, and now I am forced to face the facts, and depression. This is gonna be bad. So, after spending days and days reading and re-reading all the information I can find, I just can’t say it better than this concise statement from the “Craft” blog:

Crafters are up in arms over a seemingly disastrous unintended consequence of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), which will require lab certification that lead and phthalates are not present in toys or clothes — sounds good, but crafters warn that this means that “a toymaker… 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.” The law takes effect on February 10th and the toymakers and small clothing designers are getting very worried indeed.

Please read:

  1. An open letter from the Etsy Administration.
  2. If you are in the Children’s Apparel Industry this is a must read; Fashion Incubator‘s Kathleen always tells it like it is! I really dig her and trust her information and advise.

Please watch:
CPSIA-Central has many informative videos on the subject. My favorite is cpsia–Mr. Sun, the little boy is playing house in an apron. That apron maker and I will never be able to sell our aprons under the restraint of the new testing.

Please act:

  1. This site offers a quick and easy way to ask our government to be more specific and protect small business.
  2. Petition for Children’s Apparel Industry support.

First and foremost, I am a Mom. I know that no one wants lead in our children’s toys, garments, and supplies, but this law is just too broad, effecting a whole range products made from non-contaminated materials. The testing is outrageously expensive and totally out of reach for many, if not all, small businesses. For some of the companies that only make children’s items (close friends included), their business will go under because the testing fees and requirements are just too expensive. I know my own business will take a severe turn for the worse. Some in the crafting community are calling it National Bankruptcy Day. We all want safety, but we don’t want to see handmade children’s items become a thing of the past.

In the past year, the handmade toy community has grown as consumers have turned to handmade goods in order to avoid lead contaminated, mass produced, toys from China. Yet, this new ban will ultimately limit your toy purchases to the same big-box retailers this law was meant to monitor, as it eliminates the small law abiding US business person. Please, I beg you, take some time to educate yourselves on this issue and do what you can to support our cause, because it is your cause.

To give you an idea of what this means for Modern June… if I want to make baby bibs any longer (I happen to have over 60 cut and ready to sew up) I will have to pay a minimum of $900.00 for testing each color combination (I currently have over 12 combos). I would have to pay this for every batch I make, regardless if they are made of oilcloth, cotton, or polyester. I currently make them in batches of six. So, that is $900.00 x 12 = $10,800 for 72 bibs. Well actually I would only have 66 to sell since I would have to send one from each batch to the lab for testing. Current retail price for seventy two bibs is $900.00, after testing I would need to charge $162.50 per bib. What can I say? That is just insane.

Needless to say, I will be unable to comply with this law. And since I don’t want a $100,000 fine or to go to jail (it’s a Federal offense to break this law) my children’s line will be done after February 1o, 2009.

1 comment on “Consumers beware”

  1. Julia Hebner

    Please consider that the effect of these new regulations on crafters may not be unintended. This resembles the international movement on to squash small farmers. Just type “swat team food raid” into your search window and see what you get. Meanwhile, Canadians are dealing with proposed regulations that would criminalize growing herbs and other medicinal plants. Mint would be illegal. Sound impossible? Virginia used to be a top hemp producer and now growing any form of that plant can land you in prison. What’s next? Grannie’s selling knitted baby booties?

Comments are closed.