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Friday, December 12, 2008

Mom Loves on CPSIA - How it Affects You!

Mom Loves has been taking a break to research the potentially devastating consequences of the new Consumer Product Safety Inspection Act. While the law's intentions are good, the unintended consequences are that many of the mom designers and inventors we feature here will have to close shop in February due to a stringent, expensive blanket policy regarding testing of final products manufactured for children under the age of 12.

Mom Loves would like to state that we fully support restrictions on lead and phthalates in children's products; however, we are concerned that many admirable artisans and crafters who worked to provide safe alternatives to unsafe children's products over the last few years will be forced out of business while large corporations, who were largely responsible for making this a health issue, will continue to operate. Testing for these new measures is very expensive and could easily rack up to $20,000 for a small company or artisan's inventory. Most of us do not have these funds and will either severely reduce our available inventory or close up shop.

The basics of the new law are thus:

1. All toys and apparel for children under the age of 12 must comply with flammability, lead, and phthalate guidelines. All components of the item must be tested on every design of the item. Simply put, if I order 100 zippers, but make 10 different styles using those zippers, the zipper must be tested for each item. All fabric must be tested for lead, which will severely reduce style options for apparel manufacturers and to be honest, put most independent designers out of business.

2. This law was passed under the noses of small business, and most congress men and women, we have spoken with are unaware of the aspects of the law. Most assume it was entirely meant for manufactured toys.

3. Industry estimates show that the independent children's apparel industry is a $900 million industry and most of these producers will shut down during an already unstable, poor economy.


Why you should be concerned:

Etsy and Ebay will be removing members who cannot comply with the new standard.
The new law does nothing to actually promote safer products for our children, it only limits our options. Many organic and natural products will fail flammability requirements and most small business will not be able to afford testing regardless of product safety. The CPSC is taking the path of least resistance by treating the symptoms and not the disease.

Costs of all children's items will rise and selection will be fairly limited.

The country is founded on certain principles. Laissez Faire - the idea that the government won't interfere in the marketplace. Liberty - freedom to exercise our will. The Pursuit of Happiness - being able to be yourself and follow your dreams. Freedom from tyranny - remember the old Boston Tea Party?

CPSC is taking choice out of the hands of parents. Rather than create and maintain higher standards, they are merely removing the issue from the marketplace and removing many of the products you love as well. The fact is that they don't trust us to make an educated opinion. They are trying to be a mom for me and I don't like it. Before this, I chose to buy beautiful, hand-crafted natural toys for my son. I got rid of unsafe baby bottles and avoided buying toys with flashing lights, bells, and whistles. I was making the choice for my family. In February, many of the toys will be gone from the market and I will be left with the big box, annoying toys, and boring selection of clothes at my local department store. I will watch friends who truly care about the safety of our children and craft safe, well-made items, look for new jobs and abandon their dream.

I cannot sit back and let this happen, so Mom Loves will be taking a hiatus from reviews and giveaways and focus on fighting this new law until it considers the far-reaching and devastating consequences that will result. My Mom Gift Guide will publish this weekend and from there this blog will focus on activism and what is going on in this fight. I want products to review in February, how about you?



3 Mom Loves Comments:

Nicole said...

Grrr...this would make me so angry...on SO many levels1! Not only because I LOVE to buy/make handmade...but that main fact is that you're right about taking the choice out of our hands...especially as parents who've sought out shops on places like Etsy and other handcrafted vendors so that we could choose a SAFER, better made product! So many businesses are going to be put out on the curb if this passes...can I sign a petition or something?!!?

ncpnkr@aol.com

Kathleen Fasanella said...

Thanks for publicizing this! May I also suggest visiting the War Room for up to the minute updates and focused activism?
http://tinyurl.com/5fhzbd

You can write all of your legislators in one fell swoop here:
http://tinyurl.com/5hloos

The petition is here:
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/economicimpactsofCPSIA/index.html

For more, see nationalbankruptcyday.com or fashion-incubator.com

The Mom said...

Thanks Kathleen!

 
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