I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the CPSIA. It’s been one of those frustrating topics that gets my wheels turning, but with absolutely no resolution.
This new law was very quietly signed into existence . I was not even aware of it until I received a plea by email in December from Cecilia of http://www.craftsburykids.com/ , an online shop that carries my knit hats and some amazing handmade children‘s goods from other independent artists. In a nutshell, this law encompasses all children’s products in an effort to increase child safety. It demands that businesses who make children’s product pay for expensive testing for lead and phthalates in their product. As this law is written now, this includes product that is already obviously lead and phthalate free. Some materials have been exempted, but only in their completely natural state. The “manufacturer” is then required to label all products, but not in the way you’re thinking. The labeling must be emblazoned on the product, not on a tag and not on the packaging. I’m dumbfounded when I consider my knit hats. Permanently labeling those would take some serious skill, but then I probably won‘t be able to afford the cost of testing for them anyway, so I guess it wouldn‘t be an issue.
Big business has been allowed to take advantage of the trusting nature of most consumers and has done so forever and I believe it will continue. Toy companies and big retail are able to pressure the market for cheap and dangerous goods from China, a country that has relied on the USA’s seemingly un-satisfiable consumerism, since before I was born. My girls have their fair share of Barbie collections, so I will freely admit that I have contributed to the mess.
The CPSC is supposed to exist to make the American consumer safe from bad products. I remember making a return at my local Target this time last year and being struck by the wallpaper of child product safety recall notices affixed to the wall. I’m pretty certain that there are two things that all of these products had in common. 1.Made in China -&- 2.Sold and Manufactured by big toy companies. Hmmmmmm…… I’m sure that the CPSC met a lot of flack over the children that were victims of lead and phthalate poisoning, magnets that were consumed, and dangerous playpens and cribs. Products that were not so very well monitored by our safety net to begin with. So the response to this is the CPSIA. Poorly written, good intention that has the potential to put safe handmade small businesses out of commission.
Read more about this important issue at http://www.handmadetoyalliance.org/