Monday, December 8, 2008

Kim, AKA, Redheado, who made this cute elf hat, has written a wonderful article about some very important legislation that is going into effect in February. Many of us on the team will be affected by the new law. Here are Kim's thoughts...

I am all for legislation to protect our children. In light of the recent issues with lead and other hazardous chemicals on and in the toys and other products intended for children, I KNOW that something has to change. It is time to create effective legislation that will aid parents in securing healthy products for their children.

However, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement ACT (CPSIA) goes well beyond this goal and into bankrupting many many small businesses. The act requires testing on every component of a product for each color and batch. This testing is quite expensive ($500-$4000 per component) and would have to be repeated for every new batch and color.

As a home crafter of children's products (baby and doll slings, hats and clothing) I would have to test to the tune of $2500-$20,000 per item. I am not the only one in this position and hand crafters are not the only ones being effected. Large corporations will have to do this testing too, of course they have the legal resources to find the loop holes in these sorts of laws.

Consumers will no longer have the option of buying handmade items from WAHM's or other Artisans just trying to make ends meet in today's economy. Instead, they will be required to purchase from large, unfeeling manufacturers and settle for the limited variety of higher priced (to absorb the testing costs) items available. Grandpa can no longer hand carve wood toys to sell at a craft sale, grandmas baby quilt will be considered contraband, and I will be sitting along side them doing jail time and paying fines of $100,000 per item!!

There are many proposed solutions that would result in a winning situation for all involved. One of them would allow for full compliance among trusted countries (and within our own) requiring testing only when a product is under suspicion. Countries that have proven themselves to be untrustworthy due lead and other hazardous chemical levels would still be held to the testing. It certainly would make an excellent argument for the "Buy American Made" campaign. There is an excellent article that explains this entire situation even better then I can. This is another homecrafter who like me, is deeply concerned with both the issue of protecting our children and protecting our livelihood. Please read the information and consider contacting your congressional representative regarding this issue (there are links to do that in the previous link.)

There is also an online petition you can sign calling for amendment of this legislation. Sign the petition, and help Kim keep satisfying moms and dads with her custom baby slings.
Together, we can make a difference. We urge you to become informed and take action today.

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