Consumer product safety is a good thing right? So often I am struck with how we need more of it in this country. But here's a situation that shows how we can have too much of a good thing.
In case you haven't heard (and I know a lot of you already have), the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) is scheduled to go into effect on Feb. 10th, 2009. In a nutshell, it bans or limits certain phthalates and lead in all products sold to children under the age of 12. What this means is that ALL children's products - not just toys but also clothing, bedding - basically anything sold to kids - must be tested for lead and phthalates before it can be sold.
While this is a really good thing for new products created in factories overseas, there are a couple of pretty major negative side-effects coming into play.
- Resale shops will not be able to sell used children's clothing unless it has been tested. This is a hurdle that most small business will not be able to meet.
Producers of handmade toys and clothing will have to test their products or close up shop. This type of testing is VERY expensive and it is doubtful that many small producers of handmade goods will be able to comply.
Word on the street is that changes to the bill are forthcoming, but it may take some time for it to happen. Meanwhile, many businesses are hanging in limbo. I don't envy them. I called a couple of my local consignment shops and they are still taking children's items as usual. Have any of you heard concern from your local resale retailers??? What's your take on this new legislation to protect our children?
Want to know more? Instead of rehashing what's already been written, I'm going to steer you to a couple of other bloggers who have already done the research and have some interesting perspectives:
- The Smart Mama knows a lot about this topic. She's a lawyer with an XRF analyzer (a machine that tests for lead, phthalates and other nasty chems). Read her post about The CPSIA and the Resale/Thrift Industry.
- Change.org is looking for your vote in order to Save Handmade Toys from the CSPIA. They will be passing on a proposal for amending the act so that artisans can both comply and survive, to the Obama administration.
- Cool Mom Picks has a great list of resources and links about the situation. They also created the cute Save Handmade button (now in my right sidebar) that you can put on your site.
- Z-Recs spells out 5 steps you can take to save natural/handmade toys from the CSPIA.