Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Save Handmade Toys From CPSIA

If you only read one blog post from the House at Two Palms, let this one be it. Something is about to happen, my friends, that will adversely affect crafters, parents, grandparents, and anyone who loves the idea of handcrafted toys for children.

Reeling from the backlash of lead tainted imported toys and thousands of recalls, our legislators passed H.R. 4040, the CPSIA. The Consumer Product Safety Act was written to protect children from lead- and phthalate- tainted toys; however, as written, CPSIA will ruin any small business that makes handcrafted toys for children.

No one seriously believes that a hand knit teddy bear is tainted with lead or phthalates. Yet, after February 10, 2009, sellers of these beautiful toys will have to pay hundreds of dollars to have each toy tested by independent laboratories. That’s hundreds of dollars for each toy. Would you be willing to spend $300.00 for that hand knit teddy bear for little Suzie?

If the CPSIA is not changed, thousands of crafters will be out of business. Those crafters will have no money to spend at their local stores. Even if you do not make or buy handmade toys, the loss of that business revenue will affect you. In this crippled economy, we cannot afford to lose any more small businesses.

So what can we do? H.R. 4040 has already been passed into law. It is too late to stop it. However, if we raise our voices loud enough, we can get it amended to exclude handcrafted toys. Change.org is the website for the Obama Transition Team. They want to hear what issues are important to you. Go to the login page and register with Change.org; find “Save Handmade Toys From CPSIA” in the ideas section and vote for it. The top ten ideas will be presented to the president after the inauguration.

But don’t stop there! Contact your Representatives, Senators, and the Leaders of the House and Senate and demand that the CPSIA be amended to save handmade toys. Call, write, and email them, daily if necessary.

We all want to protect children, but this is not the way to do it. I myself have often turned to handcrafted toys as an alternative to the risks of imported toys. If the CPSIA goes into effect as it is now, we will no longer have that option. Together we can change it! Together we can save handmade toys from the CPSIA.

For more information, I have compiled links to a few web articles:

HR 4040 (full language of the bill)
An overview from Speaker Nancy Pelosi
A great article from Business is Personal
Etsy’s open letter to the CPSC