Friday, January 23, 2009


Last summer after a flood of recalls due to lead tainted toys, congress passed the CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act) It mandates that all products intended for kids under the age of 12 be tested for lead. In effect, every toy on the shelf out there would be considered "toxic waste" if not tested. Sounds like a good law to help keep kids safe, right?

What congress didn't consider is the costs and affects this law would have on crafters like me as well as resale shops and people who donate kids items.

For me, I make very small batches of giraffes (like 10 per fabric pattern). Put aside the fact that the materials I use are either certified lead-free by the manufacturer (like the stuffing I use) or very very unlikely to have lead in it (like the fabric I use). I would have to pay anywhere from $500 to $2000 per fabric pattern to have it tested. That could add anywhere from $50-$200 in the pricetag for each giraffe! $214 giraffe anyone?!? ;)

The reality is that crafters like me, who use proven safe materials are going to put out of business or have to change thier business drastically.

Another thing that wasn't thought of when they passed the law was resale shops. There are thrift shops that are already pulling kids items from the shelves. The law says they don't have to test children's items to sell them, but that they'll be held liable if anything goes wrong. Many shops will just pull the items rather than put up with the headache of all of the regulations. I buy a lot of used clothing for my little guy, and this will change the way we shop for him.

The American Librrary Association is almost begging the CPSC and Congress to clarify their stance on books for children. At this point to comply with the law, libraries will have to close their children's sections! (see here)

This law also states that items that aren't tested can't even be GIVEN away. First of all think of all the perfectly good and safe toys that will end up in a landfill. Secondly, I think of the precious little knit hat volunteers made to give to newborn babies at the hospital. The ladies that make those put their hearts into each and every hat. No longer will they be able to make such a sweet donation.

This law touches everyone with kids, grandkids, or even people who just know kids. I urge you to write your representatives and ask them to add some common sense provisions to this law. I'm all for protecting kids, but we need to go after those who caused this problem. Right now the only punishment the companies that imported these toxic and dangerous toys is a larger market share.

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