Saturday, January 17, 2009

CPSIA = Big Problems

Have you heard of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act ( CPSIA) ? I hadn't until about a week ago! But if you are a reseller or vendor or homecrafter of items intended for children under 12 years of age, you most likely have heard a lot about this lately! As a matter of fact, Feb. 10, 2009 has been dubbed by many of these folk as National Bankruptcy Day! This law, passed by Congress in August of 2008 in response to a rash of highly publicized recalls of children's toys, sets strict limits for the amount of lead and phthalates allowed in items intended for children under 12, including toys, clothing, books, educational materials, baby items, etc.

Congress passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, or HR 4040, a retroactive rule mandating that all items sold for use by children under 12 must be tested by an independent party for lead and phthalates, which are chemicals used to make plastics more pliable.

All untested items, regardless of lead content, are to be declared "banned hazardous products.'' The CPSC has already determined the law applies to every children's item on shelves, not just to items made beginning Feb. 10.

The regulations could force thousands of businesses – especially smaller ones that cannot afford the cost of lead testing – to throw away truckloads of children's clothing, books, toys, furniture and other children's items and even force them to close their doors.

World Net Daily, Jan. 17. 2009

Now, I am a mother and of course I don't want children to be exposed to harmful substances. But this law was passed much too hastily.

The following was written by Kate Estes of Hands and Hearts, a small homeschool-family business that produces hands-on history kits.

The CPSIA (Consumer Produce Safety Improvement Act) was passed in August 2008 and goes into effect on February 10, 2009. It was passed in response to recent lead paint scares involving imported toys. While all good parents wants safe toys and other products for their children, the unfortunate truth is that this law was written FAR too broadly.

Because this over-reaching law mandates expensive ($400 - $4,000 per test) testing on every part of every batch of everything made for children 12 and under, the ramifications are terrible. Mid-size and small companies of all sorts will go out of business as they cannot afford the testing. If a company makes clothing, for example, they would have to test every batch of every color and style of fabric, every batch of buttons, snaps, zippers, thread, elastic, etc. Even if they used the same bolt of fabric to make several different products, simply testing that one bolt would not appease the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Instead, every size of every style of finished product would have to have every component tested individually! This scenario applies to every product made for use by children - clothing, books, DVD's, craft products, toys, sporting goods, furniture, bedding, educational products, and so forth - even if the items are made from completely natural components.

Here are just a few results of this law:

1. The children's resale market will be seriously impacted. While new updates to the CPSIA state that resale shops can continue to sell used children's items without testing them, the updates also state that no one can sell used children's items that violate the new testing standard. Selling these "banned hazardous materials" is a felony offense with a $100,000 fine and jail time - and without performing the testing, resale shops and other resellers have no way of knowing if their items are in compliance. Many used children's items venues just aren't willing to take that kind of risk and are closing their doors in spite of the updates to the CPSIA.

2. The used children's book market will cease to exist.

3. All small and cottage industries related to children's products will have to close their doors. This includes natural, organic, and/or handmade products.

4. Many mid-size companies are closing because of the enormous financial burden of the testing and the paperwork nightmare created by the necessary labeling, tracking, and certification of their products.

5. Many homeschool authors and publishers will be going out of business.

6. The economy will be impacted on several levels: economically challenged families who rely on the children's resale market will suffer, families who lose their businesses will suffer, and families with members who lose their jobs due to businesses closing will suffer. Many related industries (those who produce support products like packaging, equipment, etc.) will suffer from the loss of companies who once bought their products. The companies who can afford the testing will surely pass their costs to all of us.

7. The environmental impact will be staggering as resale shops and other business are forced to dispose of their inventory, and as families who would have donated or sold their children's used items will be forced to discard them.

8. Our freedom to choose the products that we feel are best for our children will be severely hampered. We, for example, place a high value on children's toys made from natural materials like wood or wool, or items that are handmade. We will no longer be able to purchase these items for our children.

9. At this point, libraries will have to ban children 12 and under OR remove all children's books. I have no idea what the impact will be on schools!

Go read some of these links as well.... and for heavens sake, write a letter to your Congressman today!


GrammaJelly said...

This is terrible! Thanks for making me aware of a law of which I had no knowledge. Hadn't heard of it. In our area, church holiday fairs will suffer greatly, and your comments about schools...this is overwhelming. Will follow this one closely. Thanks, again. love, mom

Christina Donatelli-Anderson said...

Just goes to show, once again, what a bunch of BOZOS we have in our government.