The CPSIA(Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008) states that even a simple wooden toy maker will be required to have a third-party lead test every different variation of marionette he makes, costing upwards of $2000 a pop. While well intentioned in the wake of numerous recalls of imported products for lead and toxic chemical content, CPSIA ignores the financial constraints and mostly excellent track records of domestic toy manufacturers. It means that as of February 10th, 2009, if you offer for sale any items marketed to, or for use by children under age 12 that have not gone through an expensive beaurucratic rigmarole, then my friend, you are a criminal.
While we’re on the subject, regulations in the FDA Globalization Act of 2008 will put makers of indie beauty products at a financial disadvantage to the tune of a $2000 registration fee every year. I fear my skin might shrivel up like a prune if I use anything but my favorite handmade soaps.
These laws essentially disenfranchise merchandise that is not mass produced at a significant financial gain. It will drastically reduce the variety of ethically produced domestic products, or cause an increase in their prices, making them unable to compete. A better solution would be to have an inexpensive speedy device, like Xray fluorescence scanners, to screen an item’s lead and chemical content at the point of purchase, or for home use. Could said technology be widely implemented over the next couple years (as the CPSIA is planned to be) at a cost not exceeding the current price tag? If so, why are we burdening creative entrepreneurs when we could instead be empowering consumers with technology?
I’ve heard Barack Obama fondly mention inventors who work out of their garages making contributions to our technological advances. But you know, there are many other rooms in a home where brilliant creativity is taking place. If you place a choke-hold on domestic product innovation, then it will be driven purely by profit. I can see why large corporations might give these bills an enthusiastic nod. By the way, they passed with little to no opposition in congress.
The absence of handmade toys, children’s clothes and decor, and beauty products will leave a gaping hole in the indie craft community. Just imagine a Wal-mart without those catagories of items.
Get informed and involved. We need this to go viral:
The Handmade Toy Alliance has posted links and a sample letter to write your congressman http://www.handmadetoyalliance.org/
The war room at Fashion Incubator’s message forum. Check out the “Activism CPSIA:Media” post for the latest iin spreading the word http://www.fashion-incubator.com/phpbb/viewforum.php?f=32&sid=9833a626e30a9dab5b23016ef733373f
The Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild is mobilizing to alter the FDA Globalization Act http://www.soapguild.org/FDA2008.php
The CPSIA Central Social Network http://cpsia-central.ning.com/
National Bankrupcty Day (when the CPSIA takes effect) is February 10th http://nationalbankruptcyday.com/
Join the Help Save Handmade Toys from the CPSIA Facebook Group http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=49551386833&ref=mf
Vote up this issue on Change.org http://www.change.org/ideas/view/save_handmade_toys_from_the_cpsia
Please bump any posts regarding these issues on message forums also!
(Image courtesy of Hasenpfeffer Incorporated on Flickr)