Here’s my letter to Senator Richard G. Lugar, Senator Evan Bayh, and Representative Baron P. Hill about the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008:
Dear Senator Lugar (I wrote each member individually, but Senator Lugar went first),
I’m a stay-at-home mom of two little girls, and in my free time I make hand-crafted toys out of recycled and/or natural materials. I sell my work at craft fairs and online—my girls are able to be with me, playing happily, and the small amount of money I earn is one of the things that enables me to stay home with them.
I am very concerned about the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, and how it will devastate work-at-home mothers such as myself. I appreciate the protections it provides consumers against large, anonymous businesses who often don’t have their customers’ or the environment’s best interests at heart, but it’s a tragic oversight that tiny, home-based businesses in the United States aren’t exempt from the prodigious testing requirements of this Act.
I work in my home, with my children at my side—of course my materials are safe. My “customers” are often friends and neighbors—of course I have their health and safety in mind. I don’t even know how a tiny, home-based business in the United States could access lead-based paints or phthalate-laced plastics.
I have sacrificed a lot to be able to stay home with my children and raise them. I sacrificed my doctoral program after the Director of Graduate Studies at IU told me that the English department didn’t have a maternity leave policy for graduate students. I’ve sacrificed the income of a full-time job because I find child-care programs inadequate. All I ask is the ability to spend my days teaching and playing with my children, and to work hard with creativity and skill to make beautiful things for other parents and children.
Don’t take away my work; please modify the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 to exempt small, home-based businesses located in the United States.
Phew! Writing my representatives was intimidating, and I made some mistakes (I think I referred to the Act as the “Consumer Product Safety INFORMATION Act” not “IMPROVEMENT”, and I possibly called Baron Hill “Mr.”), but small business and handcrafted toys are important to me, and I made my voice, inept as it is, small as it is, heard.
Will you write your representatives, too? You can find them here.