Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Save Handmade! CPSIA Blog In!

For those of you that haven't heard about the Lead Law, I'd like to enlighten you. This will affect everyone - whether you make items, buy items, have children, etc - here's how the Consumer Protection Safety Information Act will affect you:

To the Parents of School Aged Children:

Because of this new law, you can expect your wallet to take a beating next time you need to buy school supplies. Those paper clips, glue sticks, glitter - though they weren't made *for* school aged children, they will be *used* be these kids in school projects. This new law applies to any and all school supplies - books, crayons, paper, paint, glue, tape - anything that a child under 12 *might* use in school. You can bet that our school budgets are not equipped to spend all this extra cash on the little things like glue sticks and crayons - so, either our taxes will rise to cover these costs, or we will be asked to buy them for our kids and send them in - of course they'll be more $ in the store too.

To the Book Lover:
All Children's books now will need to be pulled from public libraries, and school shelves across the USA. There is no exemption for books, though in reality the fear of kids getting lead poisoning from a book is pretty slim, there is still no exception. What will inevitably replace these? Television. Yay. Mother Sylvania comes to the rescue. Don't believe me? Check out this article from the American Library Association.

Love Buying Handmade Things?
It's just not feasable to make these items anymore. Had your eye on an angora wool knitted baby hat, a chennile baby blanket, or any number of adorable handmade goodies for your child 12 or under?? Too bad. That hat now went from $50 to $1000 because it needs to pass testing prior to being sold that proves it doesn't have lead in it. Even if sellers find a way to finance the testing process which is thousands of dollars, these items are not feasable to be one of a kind anymore. Items are destroyed in the testing process and are submitted in batches, so expect to see hundreds if not thousands of the same thing -and at that point, it most likely isn't handmade anymore, it's just not feasable.

Do you think it's important to Go Green?
As ruled by this new law, all items of non-compliance will be dumped into our already overflowing landfills. Don't just think of the Handmade people now - imagine the big box stores trashing all their unsold inventory - everything that could be used or meant for a child under age 12 that is a TON, or, more than a ton really. You can't sell it, if you do you could be sued, fined, and charged with a felony. Even if they don't sue you, it's still a fine and a violation.

Thrift Store Shopper?
I know I am, especially with a young child who is growing so fast - I often find barely worn clothes for a few dollars at thrift stores. Technically it is illegal for these thrift stores to resell these items because they were made prior to the lead testing rule. This law is retro-active. Many thrift stores will be choosing the safest possible route and eliminating the sale of any children's toys/clothing - a $100,000 fine and violation would close them down. Usually thrift stores are meant to benefit charities - like church's or local hospice cares - they can't take risks!

Entrepreneur? Small Business Owner?
You are now going to be forced to adhere to the strict testing of your unique products - or, discontinue your production/selling of them. Small businesses are likely unable to afford the cost of testing. The economy is in the dumps already, this law will cripple what is left of it.

Antique Toy Collector?
Well, its' not all bad for you, yet. Chances are right about now you are probably going to be able find many good deals and finds on antique toys being sold at blowout prices before they are contrabanned! But, you better buy now and buy a lot because toys will not be allowed to be purchased - "New rules apply retroactively , toys and clothes already on the shelf will have to be thrown out if they are not tested and certified as safe"

American Economy:
We are all already struggling in this economy that hasn't been this weak in decades. The American economy will be hit hardest with the inevitable loss of jobs, revenues, small businesses, and consumers. The testing required for one product is FAR too expensive and restrictive - it is virtually impossible for a small business (better yet an independent artist/crafter) to undertake.

Worldwide Economy:
You don't escape this either. Because of these radical laws, many foreign manufactureres are pulling out of the US market. As you might imagine, the US is a LARGE buyer for these manufacturers - their business may survive but they will inevitably lay off workers as well.

If you think I'm being an alarmist and exaggerating - here is a recent article from Forbes.

Here is the actual text of the law.

Here is an action pack put together by Etsy - lots of info.

If this alarms you, or appauls you, and you don't want to see this happen - please react. Feel free to repost this blog, links, and images used herein.

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