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handmade-doll

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With the help of you and people like you, “Save Small Business from the CPSIA” was voted one of top ten ideas for change by Change.org.  As I understand it, these top ten ideas will be presented to president-elect Obama in an effort to encourage him to influence change in this over-reaching law that could effectively put an end to crafting and reselling handmade items for children. 

Some cool numbers:

  • This Cause was ranked in the top ten out of 7,847 ideas.  (Only the top ten get presented formally to the President).
  • There were 12,280 votes in the second round of voting by people out there just like you and me.  (Don’t ask me what happened in the first round, I came late to this party.  That’s a change.org question.)
  • There are currently 474 endorsements by nonprofits and bloggers, including me and many of my readers.  (Woo Hoo, Go us!)

This work is far from over.  The law is already on the books and set to go into effect on February 10th.  The key here is to mobilize to effect change from this point forward. 

Text from the change.org website informs us:

Over the next week we will be working with nonprofit sponsors for each idea, including 1Sky, Healthcare-NOW!, and The Peace Alliance, to craft national campaigns around each idea. In the meantime, we have opened discussion for how to most effectively turn each idea into a successful national campaign, and would love your suggestions.

There’s an area where you can make suggestions and give input regarding how/why handcrafted items should be an exception to the CSPIA’s prohibitively burdensome testing criteria.  If you’ve got a strong opinion about this whatsoever, I urge you to get involved, whether in this forum or another. 

We crafters and/or resellers are, in general, a pretty laid-back bunch of folks.  Usually, that kind of approach works just fine, thank you very much.  But please consider how this law would effect your ability and the ability of other crafters to make and distribute beautiful handmade items for children.  There is real (negative) impacton us with this legislation.  It’s likely that well-meaning elected officials didn’t consider how their vote for this messy law would effect people like you and me.  It’s not too late to let them know now.  Don’t wait.  Something can be done about this.

For more information on the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act, also known as HR 4040, click on the following links.  And thanks!

https://shannonsays.wordpress.com/2009/01/09/sew-important-defend-your-ability-to-craft-for-kids/

http://www.change.org/ideas/view/save_handmade_toys_from_the_cpsia

Text of the actual Act: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpsia.pdf

http://coolmompicks.com/savehandmade/

http://savekidsresale.squarespace.com/

A similar post tailored to resellers will be posted on one of my other blogs, What Matters Most, at http://matteringmost.wordpress.com/.

[EDIT:  Please note the first comment from Jon below, which gives GREAT information and an important link to follow regarding (different site, folks!) www.change.gov, which is another site you’ll want to explore, along with explanatory links.  Let’s stick together and get some stuff accomplished here!]

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This little bear and what he stands for is VERY important to anyone who values making handmade items, or even giving or selling vintage or resale items to children:

Save Handmade Children's Items

Save Handmade Children's Items

Link to Really Important Information About the Concerns Regarding the New Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act

I first heard of this pending legislation today and, let me tell you, I’m very concerned.  Kudos to Kari for finding this button and the site that explains in layman’s terms the new Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act, or HR4040, which is the cause of serious concern. 

This act, which takes effect on February 10, 2009, places tremendously prohibitive and punitive requirements on sellers and resellers of children’s goods, including, but not limited to handmade items.   In addition to toys, clothing, furniture and books may also be effected. 

In the words of the email I received today:

HR4040 is 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 child’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 tons upon tons of children’s clothing, books, toys, furniture and other children’s items and even force them to close their doors. All of these items ending up where; landfills!

The ban of these items appears to extend beyond the retailer and could be construed to include esty.com shops, ebay sales, resale shops, flea markets, garage sales, thrift stores, pregnancy assistance clinics, hospitals, and gifts. 

This is appalling on its face, of course, but as we consider the dire predictions our president-elect made about our economy today, thift store, resale and garage sale shopping, in addition to making and using or gifting children’s items, could be the only way that many “ordinary” families (like ours) are able to survive this challenging economic season for our country.

More from the same email regarding the penalty phase of this legislation:

However, the HR404 has taken measures to such extremities that its effects may be more horrendous than its “good intentions”.  Estimates testing for each clothing article can run between $300 and $1,500. The Consumer Product Safety Commission said it may consider exempting clothing and toys made from natural materials such as wool or wood, but paint and dyes on the products are still required to be tested.  But seriously, what and how many kids’ articles are made of 100% wool or wood?  What kind of kid is going to wear a super-itchy 100% wool sweater?  Due to such costly testing, shops that sell used books may be forced to close their doors.  Second-hand, consignment , and thrift stores may be forced to close their doors.  Folks with home and on-line businesses that make specialty kids products may have to close down.  The act’s broad wording could extend to children’s items sold on eBay, Craig’s List, Amazon and even garage sales; also sources of income for many families.  February 10th, 2009 will be “National Bankruptcy” day.
 
 
 
 

 

This is a very, very serious situation for crafters and families of young children alike.  The folks at this link  give some GREAT action steps that you can take to make a difference.  

In addition to giving resources for contacting your representatives, they also encourage us to “vote for amending the law on Change.org, digg style:If it makes the top ten proposals, it will be presented to President Obama in January!” I urge you to click through and do you 60-second part to help ensure that this abysmal and harmful piece of legislation is NOT signed into law. 

Here is a link to the actual legislation.  It is 62-pages and I must disclose that I did not read every bit of it before passing this information along.  I will be reading it thoroughly and if after doing so, I believe that anything I’ve written here is in error, I will update with a correction immediately. 

But for now, please act quickly.  Time is of the essence if you want to maintain your rights to craft for kids, resell your rocking horse, or even donate that lightly-used coat to a needy child who would otherwise freeze after February 10th.

Note:  The majority of the content of this blog post also can be found at my blog, What Matters Most.  Normally, I do not duplicate posts between blogs, but I considered this topic so vastly important to both the distinct and different readership, that I thought it merited appearing in both places.  Thanks for your understanding.
EDIT:  The Consumer Products Safety Commission has a link on their website that gives some clarification as to the intention and enforcement of the CPSIA.  The key, I think, especially important if you make a living selling crafts or resale items, would be to look to the actual language of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008.  If there was ever a question of interpretation, the Act would be looked to first.  Be informed of the whole picture–especially if this is part of the way you feed your family.
And Melissa, thanks so much for the update and the link!  🙂
And a link to an LA Times article discussing HR4040  (thanks Ann)–it seems there may be improvements for resellers, but I still can’t see how those who handcraft children’s items are protected with these revisions/clarifications.  I’m could be missing something.  Or it could just be that the resellers are screaming louder about the effects of this than the crafters.  Stay informed! 

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