I am going to reprint a letter I received in my email from SMALL Magazine (an online magazine; if you haven’t checked it out, go here).
Dear Small Readers,
We are writing to inform you of action taken by Congress this past August to pass the HR4040–the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). We are pleased that Congress passed a bill to protect our children from toys containing lead and phthalates and addressing other safety issues. However, parts of this bill will directly effect all small handmade toy makers, designers and store owners in a way that will put many of them out of business. The CPSIA rules now requires all children’s products, including natural handmade toys and clothing to be tested by a Third Party Lab, often at a cost of up to $4,000 per item. That could cost a small company more than $20,000 a season.
The CPSIA simply forgot to exclude the class of children’s goods that have earned and kept the public’s trust: Toys, clothes, and accessories made in the US, Canada, and Europe. The result, unless the law is modified, is that handmade children’s products will no longer be legal in the US.
If this law had been applied to the food industry, every farmers market in the country would be forced to close while major food manufacturers such as Kraft and Dole prospered.
For small American, Canadian, Australian and European toy-makers and manufacturers of all children’s products the costs of mandatory testing will probably force them out of business.
A toymaker who makes wooden cars in his garage in Maine to supplement his income cannot afford the $4,000 fee per toy that testing labs are charging to assure compliance with the CPSIA.
A small-scale designer selling screen printed kids t-shirts from Australia will have to undergo expensive testing and provide permanent tracking labels for each item in order to sell within the US.
A work at home mom in Texas who makes handmade clothing must choose either to violate the law or cease operations.
A small toy retailer in Vermont who imports wooden toys from Europe, which has long had stringent toy safety standards, must now pay for testing on every toy they import.
And even the handful of larger toy makers who still employ workers in the United States face increased costs to comply with the CPSIA, even though American-made toys had nothing to do with the toy safety problems of 2007.
Please check out the Handmade Toy Alliance to read more about this issue.
Also please consider signing the following petitions:
Child safety and the environment is a top priority here at Small Magazine and we are concerned by the dangerous and poisonous toys that large toy manufacturers have been selling to our nations families. That is why we support the independent designers and companies making safe, handmade products for our children.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and we appreciate your help.
Christine Visneau & Olivia Pintos-Lopez