Sunday, January 4, 2009

I need to vent

I am seriously frustrated, worried, annoyed and just flat out mad. Every time I think about this topic I just want to going off on somebody about it, but I don't. I have put off posting about it because as mad as I have been, I just keep thinking it will go away. My friend Beth posted about it today, so I am going to follow her lead. We can make change happen.

"So, what are you so mad about, Sabrina?" Well, let me tell you- I am mad about the new C-P-S-I-A law. In August 2008, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) was signed stating that all items for children under the age of 12 would need to have extensive testing for lead. These tests can cost up to $200 per component.

Okay, so what does this mean? Well, the premise behind the lead testing is great. I mean, who does not want their children to be safe? The problem comes in how the law was written and who the law is directed at. The law was written and directed at people creating finished goods. Not, those who manufacture the components in masses. It calls for every unique item to be tested. Meaning if you have the same exact dress in 3 different fabric options, each one has to be tested. Have I lost you?

Okay let me break this down a little more. Think about a childrens garmet of clothing- The law calls that whatever designer puts that garment together and sells it to the public should pay for the testing. This is the part that makes no sense to me. The designer is not manufacturing anything. They did not make the thread, elastic, snaps, fabric, buttons, etc. All the did was put it together.

Here is another way to think about it. In the entire world there are only so many button manufacturers, but there are a ton of designers who use buttons. There are only so many snap manufacturers, but a ton of companies who use snaps. There are only so many fabric manufacturers, but a ton of companies who use the same fabrics.

And even further...Let's take a piece of Michael Miller Carnival Bloom fabric. Instead of the law calling Michael Miller to have to test the fabric once and call it "all clear" for everyone who uses it, the law calls for every designer who puts that fabric into one of their goods to have it tested seperately. That could be hundreds of thousands of tests on the same fabric. That is insane, wasteful and time consuming.

Anways, the law goes into effect on February 10th. This day is being called the National Bankrupty Day because of the effects it is going to have on all small design companies- Think everyone making anything for children or babies on Etsy and Ebay (me), think all the small boutiques that carry unique labels (FTW people- think Zoe & Jack), think thrift stores and children's consignment stores it also means any of the up and coming brands that have made it to national retailers.

You know what else it means? It means higher prices and less options. Large companies won't have as much competition and therefore will be able to charge higher prices because they can and to help make up the cost of testing. It also means no longer getting to see fresh new designs every season.

In a horrific economic time when the government should be doing everything it can to help the economy, it is infuriating that the booming children's industry- probably one of the only few industries that remains solid in this turmoil- is going to be all but extinct next month.

I have certainly not given you all the details, my friend Beth writes about it in a little more detail here. No matter how frustrating, there is still time to make something change. There are still things we can do.

Here are some ways you can make your voice be heard:

-Vote for this issue on Present Elect Obama will be given the top three issues from this site to address the day of his Inaguration. You will need to register in order to vote, but it is free and takes very little time. *******By the way, this idea finished in 1st Place in the Economy category and has therefore qualified for the final round of public voting. Final round voting will run from January 5th - 15th, and voting totals will be reset at zero for all qualifying ideas to ensure an equal playing field. ---So, please mark your calendars and vote on this between 1/5 and 1/15.*********
-Send Etsy's open letter to the CPSC ombudsman and your state representatives.
-Sign the petition from The Handmade Toy Alliance that will be sent to the CPSC

More information:

-Endangered Whimsy-a great compilation of many of the handmade products that will be effected.
-The Smart Mama-great article with a lot of information
-Challenge and Fun-another blog with good info.
-Impact on resale and thrift shops from the LA Times
-In case you want to try and figure out this confusing law, here's the CPSIA link

There is a ton of information on this topic out there. Just search it on google to find even more.

Save Handmade Toys



bethany said...

And what from what I've read, the law seems to say that even children's BOOKS will have to be tested, so many children's bookstores are going out of business. How crazy is that!?!

I just don't know what to do but wait at this point....

Erin said...

that is about good intentions being enforced in all the wrong ways!

pinkmommy said...

Wow! I am glad you posted about it, because I had no idea! I will definitely vote tomorrow!