Monday, January 5, 2009

Save Handmade From the CPSIA

If not stopped, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act will be eliminating handmade toys and small businesses near you starting next month. If anyone under 13 were to use a handmade item it would have to go through very expensive testing as CPSIA now reads. It is not just toys that would be impacted; it is all items that could conceivable be used by children. I am all about making sure the items we use in our day to day lives are safe and that businesses are held accountable for their products, but this is decidedly not what we need.

I've tried writing about this woeful legislation in my own words, but they seem to end up too cluttered and ramble-y lately. So instead of a wall of hard to follow text from me, here is a much easier to read block quote from Early Bird Special by
The internet is all abuzz about the new consumer safety testing, also known as CPSIA - Consumer Product Safety Inspection Act, set to go in to effect February 10, 2009.

For those of you who aren't aware of this issue, in a nutshell the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) is enforcing new mandatory testing for ALL items made for kids ages 12 and under.

Why is this happening? Due to unfortunate happenings in toy safety this past year and in 2007. (Remember hearing about all the toy recalls due to dangerously high amounts of lead?) Make no mistake, I am all about keeping our children safe, especially my own, and holding companies accountable for importing toxic toys.

Unfortunately, there is no distinction between big, small or even one person operations. The new legislation applies to all.

All finished products will require unit testing, regardless if natural materials were used, or if you have documentation stating that a button or other hardware used on your item are lead-free.

This is a serious threat to myself as well as thousands, if not millions of other crafters, artisans and small businesses that make items for kids, or items that could be deemed suitable for anyone aged 12 and under.

At first I thought this new testing only applied to toy makers, but sadly, that is not the case. Items affected by the upcoming CPSIA include: toys, footwear, carpets, clothing, bedding, luggage, lamps, toys, books, magazines, baseball cards, consumer electronics, school supplies, office supplies, jewelry, housewares, sports equipment and so on.

What I've read from others online, unit testing is VERY expensive, therefore making it close to impossible for small businesses to take on this new requirement.

CPSIA will have a strict guilty until proven innocent policy, as well as hefty fines for violators. Any product made for kids ages 12 and under without the newly required certification would be deemed hazardous, whether the item poses an actual threat or not.

So on February 10, 2009, any unsold merchandise (in big box stores, the corner boutique, your fabric stash, Good Will donations, etc.) will be deemed “hazardous goods” and illegal to sell unless 3rd party testing proves otherwise.

1) Email or call the CPSIA - the office of the CPSC 888-531-9070.
Comments on Component Parts Testing accepted through January 30, 2009.

2) Email or snail mail your representatives.

3) Call your representatives. For their contact information just enter your zip code.

4) Make your voice heard by voting on this issue. The top 3 in each category will be presented to President-elect Obama.

5) Sign the petition.

6) Cool Mom Picks: Save Handmade. Informative overview.

7) Spread the word! Write about this on your blog. Tell others about this issue and encourage them to do the same.

There is a ton of information out there on this issue, and I encourage you all to spread the word and help save handmade!

And so I encourage anyone reading this to please take action on this in any way you can. I have been working my way down the list above and will do all of them by tomorrow afternoon. As for today, I need to be at the spice shop in about 30 minutes.


  1. Thanks for paying attention to this important issue! I am hopeful that it will be amended in a way that will be easier for small businesses and secondhand stores to comply with.

    Lovely blog you have!


  2. Sorry I am so horribly late in replying, Amy. Life got in the way of internet-y things. Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the compliment!


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