Friday, December 12, 2008

Full Cold Moon

Those of you that have checked your Farmer's Almanac, know that today is the Full Cold Moon. And cold it is, here in my neck of the woods we have a storm blowin' in. Cold, wet and windy.

I thought I would take this opportunity to mention an issue that up until very recently, I was woefully unaware of. Something that may affect not only those that diligently and lovingly hand craft products and sell them, but will ultimately affect a whole vibrant and dedicated community of makers, buyers and families.

(The following is taken from Handmade Toy Alliance web site)

"The issue:
In 2007, large toy manufacturers who outsource their production to China and other developing countries violated the public's trust. They were selling toys with dangerously high lead content, toys with unsafe small part, toys with improperly secured and easily swallowed small magnets, and toys made from chemicals that made kids sick. Almost every problem toy in 2007 was made in China.

The United States Congress rightly recognized that the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) lacked the authority and staffing to prevent dangerous toys from being imported into the US. So, they passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in August, 2008. Among other things, the CPSIA bans lead and phthalates in toys, mandates third-party testing and certification for all toys and requires toy makers to permanently label each toy with a date and batch number.

All of these changes will be fairly easy for large, multinational toy manufacturers to comply with. Large manufacturers who make thousands of units of each toy have very little incremental cost to pay for testing and update their molds to include batch labels.

For small American, Canadian, and European toymakers, however, the costs of mandatory testing will likely drive them out of business.

A toymaker, for example, who makes wooden cars in his garage in Maine to supplement his income cannot afford the $4,000 fee per toy that testing labs are charging to assure compliance with the CPSIA.
A work at home mom in Minnesota who makes dolls to sell at craft fairs must choose either to violate the law or cease operations.
A small toy retailer in Vermont who imports wooden toys from Europe, which has long had stringent toy safety standards, must now pay for testing on every toy they import.
And even the handful of larger toy makers who still employ workers in the United States face increased costs to comply with the CPSIA, even though American-made toys had nothing to do with the toy safety problems of 2007.

The CPSIA simply forgot to exclude the class of toys that have earned and kept the public's trust: Toys made in the US, Canada, and Europe. The result, unless the law is modified, is that handmade toys will no longer be legal in the US.
If this law had been applied to the food industry, every farmers market in the country would be forced to close while Kraft and Dole prospered."

Of course I want to keep our children safe, here is some good material from Etsy but this act as it is written may have some serious unintended consequences. It could certainly mean that I may not be able to start my business, more importantly, so many who already have small businesses that create beautiful hand-crafted children's items may lose theirs. has a sample letter and info on how you can help make a difference.
I know this is a long wordy post, but please, don't let them outlaw good toys for girls and boys.
And of course, buy handmade.

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