December 22nd, 2008 | 18 Comments
I just love this sweest, handmade sock monkey from Craftsbury Kids. He’s super cuddly and squishy, and he was handmade in the USA from fabric socks that were made in the USA.
Yet…in less than two months, it would be illegal for Craftsbury Kids to sell Calypso the Sock Monkey. Congress had the best of intentions (making toys safer), but they passed a flawed bill that will limit consumer choice and drive handmade toy manufacturers out of business.
A new law called the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) is going into effect shortly, and it includes a ban not only on toys that contain lead or phthalates, but also on toys that have not been independently verified to be in compliance with the ban.
CPSIA mandates third-party testing and certification for all children’s products and requires manufacturers to permanently label each product with a date and batch number. And there are no common sense exceptions. For example, the makers of Calypso the sock monkey would need to pay thousands of dollars for third-party testing to verify that fabric socks do not contain lead or phthalates.
The Handmade Toy Alliance has pointed out that craftsmen turning out small batches of handmade or custom toys cannot afford the thousands of dollars it costs to secure a third-party certification. The law covers not just “toys” but anything that might by used by children. So that handmade fabric doll you bought at the craft fair or the handknit baby sweater you found on Etsy would be illegal to sell under the CPSIA act.
Our friends at Craftsbury Kids, one of our favorite sources for handmade toys, alerted us to this problem:
All of these changes will be fairly easy for large, multinational toy manufacturers to comply with. Large manufacturers who make thousands of units of each toy have very little incremental cost to pay for testing and updating their molds to include batch labels.
For small American, Canadian, and European toymakers, however, the costs of mandatory testing, to the tune of up to $4,000 per toy, will likely drive them out of business. And 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. Toy makers won’t be the only ones impacted by the CPSIA, the thousands of US businesses who offer clothing, jewelry and other gifts for children –in essence– the entire children’s industry will be as well.
The result, unless the law is modified, is that handmade toys made by small toymakers will no longer be legal in the USA as of February 10, 2009.
Thriving small businesses are crucial to the financial health of our nation. Let’s amend the CPSIA so that all businesses large and small are able to comply and survive!
Unless CPSIA is amended, our choices as consumers and parents will be severely limited. If only large corporations can afford to comply with the act, it will become harder and much more expensive to purchase traditional handmade wooden and fabric toys.
All of those wonderful handmade children’s products you find on Etsy, Craftsbury Kids or at local craft fairs would be illegal under CPSIA. Check out Etsy’s Information Page for more details on the unintended consequences of CPSIA.
Here’s what you can do to help save handmade toys and the jobs of American artisans:
Sign the Petition:
Write to your United States Congress Person and Senator to request changes in the CPSIA to save handmade toys. Use this sample letter or write your own:
Vote to modify the CPSIA on change.org:
The Top 10 Ideas will Be presented to President Obama on Inauguration Day.
Join the Save Handmade Facebook Group – Now over 2,500 Members Strong!
Here you can post comments, and access videos and news updates about the issue.
Join the CPSIA information group:
Written by Debbie
Debbie Bookstaber started Mamanista in 2007 with her friend Candace Lindemann. Debbie and Candace also are the co-founders of Bloganthropy.org, which empowers bloggers to become philanthropic leaders in their communities. Through their annual awards, Bloganthropy.org recognizes bloggers who effectively use social media for social good. Debbie lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her husband and two young sons. She's an active volunteer in her community and a working mom. Debbie is a partner at Element Associates and the Social Media Director at Child's Play Communications. You can follow Debbie on Twitter @buzzmommy or meet her at a future blogging or tech conference, where she frequently speaks about social good efforts, SEO or affiliate marketing.
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