On February 9th, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA, it’s a mouthful) will take effect. It was enacted in the wake of the lead toy scandal of 2007 when toys with dangerously high lead content and/or unsafe small parts and magnets that were primarily manufactured in China had to be recalled. The law requires sellers of products intended for children ages 12 and under to certify that the item (clothing, school supplies, cloth diapers, car seats, boy scout patches, bicycles, sippy cups, toys, etc.) is free of lead. While it is laudable that Congress acted swiftly, it appears that the law will result in unintended consequences:
- Resellers such as Goodwill Stores, or the Salvation Army will violate the law by selling children’s items that have not been tested
- Small crafts businesses that make toys from unfinished wood using food grade paint and beeswax cannot afford the testing costs and may have to consider ending their business
- A retailer specializing in organic cotton children’s clothes imported from Europe will have to ensure that those goods have been tested for lead
No one opposes the intent of a law ensuring that children are not exposed to lead and phthalates. The problem is that the broad, expensive testing requirements of this law may force small manufacturers whom parents have sought out for their natural, handcrafted products to close their shops. In its attempt to regulate large corporate entities creating mass-produced wares, the legislature appears to have overlooked small local businesses and the second hand industry. In fact U.S. Rep. Gus M. Bilirakis, who voted for the law, stated “Nobody knew we’d have these consequences.” St. Petersburg Times.
If you want to meet one of these crafters, watch this five-minute interview with Amber Dusick who makes wooden toys.
For more information, visit these links:
For the giveaway I’m offering up a set of three hair clips I made for my shop a while ago. To get them, just leave a comment. Share how you feel about this. I will announce the winner on Thursday, January 15.