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New site helps demystify the CPSIA

May 28th, 2009

What is the CPSIA? is a new website with a simple yet powerful purpose: “Explaining the Facts and Dispelling the Myths about the CPSIA.” For many of us who own small businesses with products aimed at children up to age 12, the CPSIA has been a thorn in our side ever since we finally became aware of it six or so months ago. Yes, the original stay was granted but now we have labeling issues to worry about and the ever-present requirement for testing, which is—gasp!—just around the corner.

I love that the site is super easy to navigate with the most important issues/questions smack-dab on the homepage in an eye-catching, bolded blue font:

  • What is the CPSIA?

  • What can I do about the CPSIA?

  • Where can I find a list of compliant products?

  • Can I sell current inventory on-hand?

  • I make OOAK items, what options do I have besides destructive testing?

...and the list goes on. I think I’ll be researching whether third-party certification will be good enough come the next CPSIA deadline.

What is the CPSIA? also has left-hand-side links important for all of us to browse, from activism sites to apparel & fashion to information for resellers. And most importantly, the site welcomes questions from readers. The more questions, the more answers; the more answers the better prepared we are to understand the CPSIA; the better we understand this law the more effective we can be at working to change it.

Whether or not you’re a seller or reseller of handmade children’s goods What is the CPSIA? is a must-read for all of us as it effects everyone. Not convinced it effects you? Check out the slideshow of affected products below.—Emily

P.S. You can follow @whatiscpsia for tweets about the newest blog posts and other relevant CPSIA info.

CPSIA Update with Heather

March 20th, 2009

Article by: Heather Flottman
Owner/Designer
liliputians NYC

There is big news on the CPSIA front (for background information on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act read this earlier Boutique Café article). A rally and congressional briefing, OVERKILL: HOW THE CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY IMPROVEMENT ACT IS DAMAGING AMERICAN BUSINESSES, will take place on April 1st. I look forward to seeing/hearing/meeting others and hope our legislators will be listening as well. See you at the rally!

Here is the press release for the event:

Implementation of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) is following a worst-case scenario for manufacturers, retailers and charities. Thanks to the flaws in this law, millions of perfectly safe products are in the process of being destroyed, costing U.S. businesses billions of dollars in the midst of one of the worst economic crises in U.S. history. Charitable organizations and thrift stores are being forced to pull inventory from their shelves at a time when American families need them more than ever. The supply of science supplies to schools is being curtailed. Youth model ATV and dirt bikes are no longer available creating a safety issue because more than 90% of injuries to kids on ATVs occur on large adult size models. Even libraries are at risk of legal liability for lending children’s books. All of these violations of common sense are being done in the name of “safety”.

From unrealistic compliance deadlines that made it impossible for industry or the Consumer Product Safety Commission to adequately prepare before the law went into effect, to the unprecedented decision to retroactively apply the new lead standards and phthalates ban to inventory already sitting in stores and warehouses, CPSIA is causing massive disruptions to industries across the board, particularly small and medium-sized businesses.

So far, Congress has ignored the calls of thousands of small businesses, charities, parents and teachers to fix the flaws in this legislation, refusing even to hold public hearings on the problem. That’s why business and charitable groups are organizing a fly in, rally and Congressional briefing on Capitol Hill to meet with Members of Congress, provide information and bring attention to the CPSIA crisis. Wide participation is anticipated in this unique event to call upon Congress to urgently fix the CPSIA.

Date:April 1, 2009, 10:00am
Location: Capitol Visitors Center, Room HVC201 A&B, The U.S. Capitol

Speakers will include Members of Congress and representatives from:
· Charitable Organizations
· National Association of Manufacturers
· Small Business owners from various industries affected by CPSIA
· Motorcycle and ATV dealerships
· Publishers and Library Associations
· Product safety and lead experts (to discuss science-based risk assessment)

Confirmed Participating Organizations (as of March 16, 2009)
· Alliance for Children’s Product Safety
· American Apparel and Footwear Association
· American Motorcycle Association
· American Specialty Toy Retailing Association
· Fashion Jewelry Trade Association;
· Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association
· Handmade Toy Alliance
· International Sleep Products Association
· Motorcycle Industry Council
· National Association of Manufacturers
· National Association of Resale and Thrift Shops
· National School Supply & Equipment Association
· National Bulk Vendors Association
· Specialty Vehicle Institute of America
· Toy Industry Association

For additional information, please contact the Alliance for Children’s Product Safety at 202-828-7637 and visit the web-site at http://www.AmendTheCPSIA.com. To participate, PLEASE EMAIL - AprilRally@AmendTheCPSIA.com – THAT YOU PLAN TO ATTEND, ALONG WITH YOUR ZIP CODE (NINE DIGITS IS BEST).

CPSIA Update with Heather

March 20th, 2009

Article by: Heather Flottman
Owner/Designer
liliputians NYC

There is big news on the CPSIA front (for background information on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act read this earlier Boutique Café article). A rally and congressional briefing, OVERKILL: HOW THE CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY IMPROVEMENT ACT IS DAMAGING AMERICAN BUSINESSES, will take place on April 1st. I look forward to seeing/hearing/meeting others and hope our legislators will be listening as well. See you at the rally!

Here is the press release for the event:

Implementation of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) is following a worst-case scenario for manufacturers, retailers and charities. Thanks to the flaws in this law, millions of perfectly safe products are in the process of being destroyed, costing U.S. businesses billions of dollars in the midst of one of the worst economic crises in U.S. history. Charitable organizations and thrift stores are being forced to pull inventory from their shelves at a time when American families need them more than ever. The supply of science supplies to schools is being curtailed. Youth model ATV and dirt bikes are no longer available creating a safety issue because more than 90% of injuries to kids on ATVs occur on large adult size models. Even libraries are at risk of legal liability for lending children’s books. All of these violations of common sense are being done in the name of “safety”.

From unrealistic compliance deadlines that made it impossible for industry or the Consumer Product Safety Commission to adequately prepare before the law went into effect, to the unprecedented decision to retroactively apply the new lead standards and phthalates ban to inventory already sitting in stores and warehouses, CPSIA is causing massive disruptions to industries across the board, particularly small and medium-sized businesses.

So far, Congress has ignored the calls of thousands of small businesses, charities, parents and teachers to fix the flaws in this legislation, refusing even to hold public hearings on the problem. That’s why business and charitable groups are organizing a fly in, rally and Congressional briefing on Capitol Hill to meet with Members of Congress, provide information and bring attention to the CPSIA crisis. Wide participation is anticipated in this unique event to call upon Congress to urgently fix the CPSIA.

Date:April 1, 2009, 10:00am
Location: Capitol Visitors Center, Room HVC201 A&B, The U.S. Capitol

Speakers will include Members of Congress and representatives from:
· Charitable Organizations
· National Association of Manufacturers
· Small Business owners from various industries affected by CPSIA
· Motorcycle and ATV dealerships
· Publishers and Library Associations
· Product safety and lead experts (to discuss science-based risk assessment)

Confirmed Participating Organizations (as of March 16, 2009)
· Alliance for Children’s Product Safety
· American Apparel and Footwear Association
· American Motorcycle Association
· American Specialty Toy Retailing Association
· Fashion Jewelry Trade Association;
· Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association
· Handmade Toy Alliance
· International Sleep Products Association
· Motorcycle Industry Council
· National Association of Manufacturers
· National Association of Resale and Thrift Shops
· National School Supply & Equipment Association
· National Bulk Vendors Association
· Specialty Vehicle Institute of America
· Toy Industry Association

For additional information, please contact the Alliance for Children’s Product Safety at 202-828-7637 and visit the web-site at http://www.AmendTheCPSIA.com. To participate, PLEASE EMAIL - AprilRally@AmendTheCPSIA.com – THAT YOU PLAN TO ATTEND, ALONG WITH YOUR ZIP CODE (NINE DIGITS IS BEST).

CPSIA Update from Heather Flottman

February 13th, 2009


Article by: Heather Flottman
Owner/Designer
liliputians NYC

Several new developments have come about on the CPSIA front since the last Boutique Café article on this topic. Here’s a quick summary.

1) On 2/4/09 Senators Jim DeMint of SC, Roger Wicker of MS and Saxby Chambliss of GA, and David Vitter of LA introduced bill S.374 to the Senate where it was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. This bill would amend the Consumer Product Safety Act to provide regulatory relief to small and family-owned businesses. On 2/11/09 Senators Sam Brownback of KS, Tom Coburn of OK, Mike Crapo of ID and James Inhofe of OK cosponsored the bill also. Call (202-224-3121), email, fax and write your Senator to let them know you support this amendment.

2) On 2/11/09 Rep. John Shadegg of AZ and co-sponsor Rep. Roscoe Bartlett of MD introduced bill H.R. 968 to Congress where it was read twice and referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. This bill is identical to Sen. Demint’s in wording to amend the CPSIA, providing relief for America’s small businesses. Call, email, fax and write your Representative to let them know you support this amendment.

3) On 2/10/09 CPSC posted Guidance on CPSIA for Small Businesses, Resellers, Crafters and Charities. Although this obviously was needed months ago, it is still welcome information and summarizes the legislation in understandable terms. ALL sellers, resellers, retailers, and manufacturers would do themselves a favor by reading this guide. Table B is of particular interest, listing materials, which are exempt from testing (hopefully a permanent ruling) such as dyed and undyed yarns and fabrics.

4) The Stay of Enforcement remains . . . for now. Activist consumer groups NRDC and Public Citizen are rumored to be filing a lawsuit to get it overturned.

So keep up the fight. CPSIA is not going to go away and we need to ensure that small business and micro manufacturers can survive this legislation.

Breathe Easy . . . and Then Call Your Representatives

January 31st, 2009

Article by: Heather Flottman
Owner/Designer
liliputians NYC

As you have probably already read (perhaps here on Boutique Café ) the CPSC has granted a 1 year stay of testing and certification (an excerpt from the press release is in italics below).

The stay of enforcement provides some temporary, limited relief to the crafters, children’s garment manufacturers and toy makers who had been subject to the testing and certification required under the CPSIA. These businesses will not need to issue certificates based on testing of their products until additional decisions are issued by the Commission. However, all businesses, including, but not limited to, handmade toy and apparel makers, crafters and home-based small businesses, must still be sure that their products conform to all safety standards and similar requirements, including the lead and phthalates provisions of the CPSIA.
Handmade garment makers are cautioned to know whether the zippers, buttons and other fasteners they are using contain lead. Likewise, handmade toy manufacturers need to know whether their products, if using plastic or soft flexible vinyl, contain phthalates.

However, this issue is NOT over. Stop. Take a breath. Pat yourself on the back. Know that you’ll still be able to continue selling custom outfits, hair bows, or whatever product you create come February 10th. And then regroup.

It is crucial that momentum is not lost. Hope is very near with Senator Jim DeMint of SC (one of the 3 in the Senate who voted “nay” against this along with Senator Jon Kyl and Senator Thomas Coburn) introducing legislation to reform CPSIA. Call, email or write Senator DeMint and tell him “thank you.” Call your senators and tell them you support this. Let common sense prevail.

Keep the heat on Congressman Waxman and other members of the Committee on Energy and Commerce. Email them. Call (202-225-2927) and let them know that CPSIA needs to be amended. Let them know you support the 6 points presented by Senator Demint. Keep up the fight and save handmade.

Can I Get A Yee-Haw??!! CPSIA!

January 30th, 2009

It’s a Good START and worth celebrating! Here we go:

NEWS from CPSC
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Office of Information and Public Affairs Washington, DC 20207
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 30, 2009
Release #09-115

CPSC Recall Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908

CPSC Grants One Year Stay of Testing and Certification Requirements for Certain Products

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission voted unanimously (2-0) to issue a one year stay of enforcement for certain testing and certification requirements for manufacturers and importers of regulated products, including products intended for children 12 years old and younger. These requirements are part of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), which added certification and testing requirements for all products subject to CPSC standards or bans.

Significant to makers of children’s products, the vote by the Commission provides limited relief from the testing and certification requirements which go into effect on February 10, 2009 for new total lead content limits (600 ppm), phthalates limits for certain products (1000 ppm), and mandatory toy standards, among other things. Manufacturers and importers – large and small – of children’s products will not need to test or certify to these new requirements, but will need to meet the lead and phthalates limits, mandatory toy standards and other requirements.

The decision by the Commission gives the staff more time to finalize four proposed rules which could relieve certain materials and products from lead testing and to issue more guidance on when testing is required and how it is to be conducted.

The stay will remain in effect until February 10, 2010, at which time a Commission vote will be taken to terminate the stay.

The stay does not apply to:

  • Four requirements for third-party testing and certification of certain children’s products subject to:
    o The ban on lead in paint and other surface coatings effective for products made after December 21, 2008;
    o The standards for full-size and non full-size cribs and pacifiers effective for products made after January 20, 2009;
    o The ban on small parts effective for products made after February 15, 2009; and
    o The limits on lead content of metal components of children’s jewelry effective for products made after March 23, 2009.
  • Certification requirements applicable to ATV’s manufactured after April 13, 2009.
  • Pre-CPSIA testing and certification requirements, including for: automatic residential garage door openers, bike helmets, candles with metal core wicks, lawnmowers, lighters, mattresses, and swimming pool slides; and
  • Pool drain cover requirements of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act.

The stay of enforcement provides some temporary, limited relief to the crafters, children’s garment manufacturers and toy makers who had been subject to the testing and certification required under the CPSIA. These businesses will not need to issue certificates based on testing of their products until additional decisions are issued by the Commission. However, all businesses, including, but not limited to, handmade toy and apparel makers, crafters and home-based small businesses, must still be sure that their products conform to all safety standards and similar requirements, including the lead and phthalates provisions of the CPSIA.

Handmade garment makers are cautioned to know whether the zippers, buttons and other fasteners they are using contain lead. Likewise, handmade toy manufacturers need to know whether their products, if using plastic or soft flexible vinyl, contain phthalates.

The stay of enforcement on testing and certification does not address thrift and second hand stores and small retailers because they are not required to test and certify products under the CPSIA. The products they sell, including those in inventory on February 10, 2009, must not contain more than 600 ppm lead in any accessible part. The Commission is aware that it is difficult to know whether a product meets the lead standard without testing and has issued guidance for these companies that can be found on our web site.

The Commission trusts that State Attorneys General will respect the Commission’s judgment that it is necessary to stay certain testing and certification requirements and will focus their own enforcement efforts on other provisions of the law, e.g. the sale of recalled products.

Please visit the CPSC Web site at www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/cpsia.html for more information on all of the efforts being made to successfully implement the CPSIA.

****Don’t Miss this great article on ZRecs though, CPSIA-Certification Delayed un 2010 – Seller beware

Boutique Felony Launch – One Last Hoorah!

January 22nd, 2009

Coming Soon January 27, 2009.

Boutique Designers from eBay and Etsy join forces for “One Last Hoorah” due to the ridiculous CPSIA regulations coming into effect that will put countless boutiquers, crafters, WAHM’s and sellers of children’s products out of business. These regulations do not take into account small business and will wipe out our community as well as your choices as consumers.

Please mark your calendars and tell your friends. As our items we make with our loving hands will suddenly be illegal on 2-10-2009!

CLICK to Support these Amazing Designers>>

CPSIA Insults Mommy Bloggers – now Mom Dot has her say

January 16th, 2009

Trisha from Mom Dot explains just how messed up the CPSIA legislation really is, and how Julie Vallese (the CPSC’s spokesperson) insulting the momprenuers and mommy bloggers might not be the best idea.

On a personal note: Thanks for sharing the fab mommy made products that you own Trisha. Especially the gorgeous picture you won on Boutique Cafe. We can’t believe that these beautiful products may be no more without some serious re-writing of this legislation.

A Ray of Sunshine – CPSIA Update

January 12th, 2009


Article by: Heather Flottman
Owner/Designer
liliputians NYC

On December 17th, I wrote my first article for Boutique Café. It summarized the CPSIA and its effects on the handmade toy and clothing industry as well as the unintended consequences for a gamut of other businesses that sell or manufacture products for children 12 and under. Fortunately there have been some positive developments to report since then.

For one, the media seems to be finally paying attention. News programs are reporting the ramifications of CPSIA, blog postings have a steady stream of calls-to-action, and newspapers big and small are focusing on the issue. This needs to continue to make the public aware of the impact the legislation will have to small business if not amended.

The thrift and resale shops were given a reprieve yesterday with the CPSC’s press release which clarified that “sellers of used children’s products, such as thrift stores and consignment stores are not required to certify that those products meet the new lead limits, phthalates standard or new toy standards.” It later goes on to state, “However, resellers cannot sell children’s products that exceed the lead limit and should avoid products that are likely to have lead content.” And, “Those resellers that do sell products in violation of the new limits could face civil and/or criminal penalties.”

A particularly, promising statement for the handmade clothing sector was reported in the McHenry County Business Register, a Chicago area paper, by Hyacinth Filippi Worth. As stated in the article, “Davis [CPSC Spokesperson Patty Davis] said all products intended for children 12 and younger must adhere, Davis also said hand-made, one-of-a-kind items likely will be exempt, which would allow small-time crafters and seamstresses of children’s products to continue making and selling original products.” This is a promising assertion, but unfortunately is not an official ruling at this point. I hope we can make it one.

On January 9th, a notice of proposed rule making was posted on the CPSIA web site (see Children’s Products Containing Lead: Proposed Determinations Regarding Lead Content Limits on Certain Materials or Products; Notice of Proposed Rulemaking under What’s New). This preliminary ruling will possibly exempt the following natural materials provided that “these materials have neither been treated or adulterated with the addition of materials of chemicals such as pigments, dyes, coatings, finishes or any other substance, nor undergone any processing that could result in the addition of lead into the product or material.
•precious and semiprecious gemstones
•natural or cultured pearls
•surgical steel
•precious metals: gold (at least 10 karat); sterling silver (at

least 925/1000) platinum, palladium, rhodium, osmium,
iridium & ruthenium
•wood
•natural fibers such as cotton, silk, wool, hemp, flax & linen
•other natural materials such as coral, amber, feathers, fur &
untreated leather
This is a very positive development and hopefully a definite ruling. However, it is just a start. DO YOU KNOW ANYONE WHO USES UNDYED FABRIC? Children’s apparel is about color. There needs to be more exemptions.

The CPSC has formally requested comments. The rules regarding testing are not final. Comments on testing methods (eight questions have been asked) are being accepted until January 30th and can be emailed to Sec102ComponentPartsTesting@cpsc.gov. For a discussion on these questions, the Fashion Incubator forum is a great place to familiarize oneself.

I am hopeful that component testing will be allowed along with exemptions for all components which clearly are not a lead risk as well as excluding some products altogether (such as books, handmade clothing, second hand clothing). I also hope that X-ray fluorescence ( XRF testing) is permitted as a more reasonable (read nondestructive and inexpensive) testing method.

Please help in getting this amended. Safe products are possible without the demise of small businesses in America. At this point it is imperative to keep up the momentum.

As mentioned in the article, satisfy the CPSIA’s request for comments by emailing them your thoughts on 3rd party testing methods.

The Committee on Energy and Commerce sponsored CPSIA and it is the chairman of the Committee that can call hearings on this matter. Let’s convince him to revisit this legislation by writing letters or calling (202-225-2927) to express your concern and how this law will affect you. If you’ve already written them, please write them again. Here are their names and addresses:

The Hon. Henry A. Waxman, Chairman
Committee on Energy and Commerce
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Hon. Joe Barton, Ranking Member
Committee on Energy and Commerce
2322-A Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Hon. Bobby Rush, Chairman
Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Hon. Ed Whitfield, Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection
2322-A Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Continue CALLING and writing your congressmen and senators (Search by your zip code in the top left and right pages to find your representatives contact info.) Make sure they hear your views on this issue. Mention the REGULATORY FLEXIBILITY Act and explain that because CPSIA burdens small businesses unfairly, that CPSIA needs to be amended. Convince them to join their colleagues such as Congressman Charlie Dent, Congressman Jim Gerlach, Congressman Tim Holden, Senator Orrin Hatch, Senator Patrick Leahy, and Congressman Anthony Weiner who have taken up our cause.

The second round of voting has started at Change.org. Register if you haven’t already and make this issue one of the top 3 items presented to President-elect Obama.

Keep blogging about CPSIA and utilizing sites like facebook, twitter, and YouTube. The internet is a buzz with CPSIA. Just google it.

Join the mail-in protest, sending soon to be “hazardous goods” to CPSIA founder Rep. Rush.

Take this survey to help ascertain the economic impact of CPSIA for retail and manufacturing businesses.

And if you haven’t already . . .
Sign this petition for the Children’s Apparel Industry and this one from the Handmade Toy Alliance.

Visit the CPSIA war room” and CPSIA Central to discuss get up to date news on the topic.

The Sky is Falling – CPSIA Issue

December 17th, 2008

Article by: Heather Flottman
Owner/Designer
liliputians NYC

The sky is falling! Yes, I feel a like an overly dramatic Chicken Little. And I wish it were true considering recent congressional legislation is about to crush the life out of the handmade clothing and toy industry. I’m talking about H.R. 4040, the Consumer Protection Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) signed into law August 14, 2008, and the ramifications it will have when it goes into effect February 10, 2009 (now being popularly referred to as National Bankruptcy Day).

Make no mistake. CPSIA was necessary in principle and has noble intentions, keeping our children safe and holding companies accountable for importing toxic toys. We all demand safety for our children and this is the intent of CPSIA; specifically to ensure safe levels of lead and phthalates in all products manufactured for children under the age of 12. Unfortunately this legislation lacks common sense, is ambiguous and fails to take into account the handmade industry.

What you see is not what you get with CPSIA. There is no distinction between big, small, or even micro one-person businesses. Whether it’s a large-scale manufacturer importing apparel to be sold in big box stores, or a work-at-home mom (WAHM) selling customs on ebay, the legislation applies the same to all.

Unit testing will be required on finished products, regardless if the components are natural materials or if you have documentation from a vendor stating that buttons, for example, are certified lead-free. As it stands, H.R. 4040 fails to recognize that textile products are inherently lead-free. Why then is an organic cotton shirt being tested for lead exactly?

Unit testing is extremely cost prohibitive to small business, but worse, it is unnecessary. In fact, it is completely redundant if the components that comprise the whole have already been tested and due diligence can prove they meet the guidelines.

To put a real dollar amount to testing one of my products, I solicited a lab quote. I was told it was $75 to test for lead per garment component and each substrate. Coated or painted items such as buttons are $100. So my Little Red Riding Hood Shirt, a 100% cotton knit shirt with an appliqué made from 7 cotton fabrics and 2 buttons eyes would cost $625 to test for lead. Flammability testing is also required and is either $50 for a certificate per component stating it meets weight code or $100 for actual testing. So add another $400-$800 for a grand total of $1,025-$1425. in testing costs for a shirt that retails for $40. If the shirt is offered in another colorway, the same testing is required despite the fact that the same fabrics are used throughout.

Small manufacturers have no way of absorbing the price of such redundancy. And all manufacturers will be required to test a finished component/item from each batch. Easy to do in mass production—simply pull one sample from a lot of thousands. But how does one comply when your “batches” are made-to-order batches of one? SKUs will also be required for each product with a permanent label on the item itself.

CPSIA will be retroactive and takes a guilty-until-proven-innocent approach with extremely hefty fines for violators. As written, any product used by children 12 and under (such as toys, footwear, carpets, clothing, bedding, luggage, lamps, toys, books, magazines, baseball cards, consumer electronics, school supplies, office supplies, jewelry, housewares, sports equipment and so on) without the newly required certification would be deemed hazardous, whether the item poses an actual threat or not. So on February 10, 2009, any unsold merchandise (in big box stores, the corner boutique, your fabric stash, Good Will donations, etc.) will be deemed “hazardous goods” and illegal to sell unless 3rd party testing proves otherwise. By the way, there are only 14 said labs currently in the United States.

Think you won’t be affected? I hope not, but the sad truth is that hundreds of thousands (if not millions) will be. Do you make children’s clothing, toys, jewelry, hair bows, accessories, furniture, artwork or anything else “intended for use by children age 12 and under”? Are you a retailer of children’s goods? Do you resell used children’s clothing or toys on ebay? Do you participate or shop at craft fairs? Do you donate used children’s items to needy organizations? Do you belong to a church that has rummage sales as a fundraiser? Does your child play sports and get their uniforms from a local screen print shop? Are you a consumer shopping for alternatives to mass-produced toys? If so, this law takes away that freedom.

Surely this legislation can be amended by incorporating some common sense and still make it possible to ensure our children’s safety without further hurting the US economy. According to the 2002 Economic Census (the last survey of its type), small U.S. clothing manufacturers (with fewer than 20 employees) contribute over $900 million dollars [consider: nearly $1 billion dollars] annually to the economy and comprise 68% of total apparel manufacturing in the U.S. This is clearly a vital and contributing asset to our economy. Multiply this fallout exponentially when you take into account the myriad other manufacturers, retailers and businesses that will be hurt or ultimately driven out of business.

So, why should you support amending this legislation?

Because the CPSIA isn’t fair and will not function as written. It inadvertently punishes American industries unrelated to toys and will ultimately result in fewer alternatives to mass produced merchandise made in China. The concept that small producers should be subject to the same rigorous standards but with lesser regulation (and common sense) has already been fought for and sustained in the food industry, which is why your local farmers market still exists. Now this same idea needs to be applied to children’s products.

What can you do?
1) Email or call the CPSIA - the office of the CPSC ombudsman 888-531-9070.
http://www.cpsc.gov/cgibin/newleg.aspx
Comments on Component Parts Testing accepted through January 30, 2009.
mailto:Sec102ComponentPartsTesting@cpsc.gov.

2) Email or snail mail your representatives.
http://capwiz.com/americanapparel/issues/alert/?alertid=12274476”>http://capwiz.com/americanapparel/issues/alert/?alertid=12274476

3) Call your representatives. For their contact information just enter your zip code.
http://capwiz.com/americanapparel/dbq/officials/

4) Make your voice heard by voting on this issue. The top 3 in each category will be presented to President-elect Obama.
http://www.change.org/ideas/view/save_handmade_toys_from_the_cpsia

5) Sign the petition.
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/economicimpactsofCPSIA/index.html”>http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/economicimpactsofCPSIA/index.html

6) Spread the word! Write about this on your blog. Tell others about this issue and encourage them to do the same.

7) Join others in fighting this cause.
Facebook group
Twitter search
“>http://cpsia-central.ning.com/notes/Notes_Home

8) Join the etsy community in the virtual chat with CPSIA Small Business Ombudsmen or send a handmade children’s item that will become “hazardous goods” as of 2/9/09 to Bobby Rush, founder of H.R. 4040.
http://www.etsy.com/storque/craftivism/handmade-childrens-items-unintended-consequences-consumer-pr-3056/
Etsy Thread

9) Read more about this legislation and its ramifications:
Fashion Incubator

Handmade Toy Alliance

National Bankruptcy Day

YouTube video

YouTube Video

YouTube Video

5 Minutes for Mom

Cool Mom Picks

The Smart Mama

blogher

Apparel and Footwear.org

Toy Association.org

Cafe Mom

Safety and Compliance

Zrecommends

SleepingBaby.net

Freshly Baked Blog

Help save small business!

December 15th, 2008

“Ball of confusion, oh yeah; that’s what the world is today, hey…” Those are the lyrics (originally sung by The Temptations) that come to mind when reading about the new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, or CPSIA for short. I’ve tried reading the info on the CPSIA website but my brain quickly becomes its own ball of confusion. What does it all mean for small business who manufacture/design/create products geared toward children age 12 and under? Will they (us included) go bankrupt because we can’t afford third-party testing of our products to certify they do not contain lead or phthalates?

We are still doing our research but we have done enough to know reform is necessary to keep thousands of small business from closing their doors. “The CPSIA: Good in Theory, Hurting Small, Favorite Green Businesses in Practice” from The Smart Mama is a great post outlining the impact of the CPSIA on small and not-so-small business. It gives a better picture about what types of products/business are affected and the types of testing involved. Here is an excerpt from the beginning of the article:

On August 14, 2008, President Bush signed into law the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). It was drafted as a toy safety law in response, at least in part, to the numerous recalls in 2007 for lead in children’s toys and jewelry. It was also drafted in response to the tragic death of a 4 year old after ingesting a charm that was almost pure lead.

It was designed to be a toy safety law, but its reach is much, much broader. And, like all broadly written, reactionary laws, it has very significant, it appears largely unforeseen consequences. Like perhaps putting out of business thousands of small manufacturers of children’s products, including some of my favorites – the small manufacturers of reusable cloth diapers, natural wood toys, handcrafted costumes, and innovative children’s products.


She promises to have another post on the phthalate portion of the CPSIA next, and we’ll be on the lookout for it.

Another site serving as a clearinghouse for info is NationalBankruptcyDay.com: “February 10, 2009 untold numbers of children’s products manufacturers and retailers will be closing their doors.” Sounds like a national bankruptcy day to me. This site has the most recent info and FAQs on the new legislation with links to how you can get involved, from forums to writing the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) and your legislator.

Z Recommends, one of my most favorite sites for children’s product reviews, safety information and pretty much everything a parent needs to know, just posted “Five steps you can take to save natural/handmade companies from the CPSC and CPSIA“:

Livelihoods, work-at-home arrangements, and the availability of handmade and natural products for our children are at stake. Here are five things you can do today to help force Congress to address the mess they’ve made before the law goes into effect on February 10, 2009.

The steps are fairly straightforward and require only a small amount of time. You might think the new CPSIA doesn’t affect you, but even if you don’t design and sell children’s products, you probably buy them. With the way the CPSIA is now, you will have far less products from which to choose and the ones left on the shelves may carry a price tag no one can afford.

LeShan and I are still learning the ins and outs of the CPSIA but you can bet we’re doing our part to make reform happen. Because if it stays as is, you will no longer see georgie tees cute infant onesies and tees online or in boutiques…—Emily

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