Tuesday, February 24, 2009

CPSIA and You

By now I'm sure most of you have heard about the CPSIA (Consumer Protection Safety Improvement Act) and how it is going to affect thousands of sellers of childrens' handmade items. And although the act is at a 1 year stay, it still has the potential to put a lot of artists out of business.

For those that may not be familiar with this new act, in short it was created to protect children from excessive levels of lead in toys and other products. This is, in and of itself a good thing, but the act is poorly written and doesn't address the real problem. The act is forcing testing to be done on products manufactured in the US when it wasn't even our products that were causing the problems. Testing should be forced on products that are imported to the US.

Testing of items for children can range any where from $100 - $4000. In addition to making it just about impossible for small business owners to stay in business, I recently found out about other ways this law will have a huge impact. We will no longer be able to buy or sell items for children under 12 at yard sales, consignment shops or flea markets unless they have been tested. I don't know about you, but over the course of my daughters 4 years, I have found some really great things that were second hand, not to mention some extra money I have made by selling things she no longer used. The act will also affect daycares and schools, which possibly means price increases, and in an already struggling economy who will be able to afford it?

Can you image that giving a family member or friend your used baby and childrens items will now mean that you are breaking the law if you do not have the items tested first? The act definitely needs to be revisited and changed so that it is more realistic.

The other day in the Etsy forum DollCloset posted a link to a really cool poem called, "Dr. Seuss Meets The CPSIA". It's a little long but definitely worth the read and it really makes you think.



Flight Fancy

While I do agree we need to protect our children from the harms of lead, I find the poorly thought out act to be ridiculous. As a librarian this act concerns me greatly, when childrens books published before 1985 are considered a risk. Since when do books contain lead or harm children? We really need to keep on top of this, and become active by contacting our political leaders. Grass roots movements can help make changes.