I am writing about something that bothers me and how I understand it from what I have read. Please correct me if I have any of my information wrong, leave comments and let me know what you think whether you agree or disagree, let others know about this and disseminate any information or articles that you may come across that may help us all better understand this law.
Have you ever been thrilled over an amazing kids clothing find at the local thrift or consignment store? What about the great coat you might have purchased at a yard sale for your quickly sprouting wee one? Or the toys, gear, and gadgets that you have passed along, received as a hand me down, or found on Craigslist or Ebay? If things progress as planned, this will no longer be a possibility!!
You may have read on one of your favorite blogs about the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) - this is the act that is going to significantly and negatively impact the hand made, small business industry. Until last night I had no idea how far reaching this act was. What I have learned:
- Any item being made for anyone 12 and under must go through third party testing to test for the presence of lead
- Any item being made for anyone 3 and under must also go through third party testing for the presence of phthalates
- ALL products being sold after February 10, 2009 must meet these standards and be labeled as such
- This includes ALL items manufactured prior to February 10, 2009
- Regardless of testing of item components the FINAL product must also be tested
- This will include any items sold at thrift store, consignment stores, ebay, craigslist, etsy, and yard/tag sales
- Millions of items will have to be cleared from the shelves of stores and sent to the landfill, as they will not be allowed to donate these goods either
- Thousands of stores and small business will close shop
- The price of clothing and toys (new) for children will go up, but there will be no where to buy anything used, at least not for a significant period of time
- There has been no attempt to make testing accessible for small businesses and manufacturers who wish to be compliant
- There has been no clear communication with regards to what is really required, by whom and when
I do understand the intent of this law/act is to protect our children, but sadly it is horribly short sighted.
Do you love Baby Legs? Many people I know do...I don't know what impact this will have on this company, but think of how this wonderful product started - a mom, in her home. You will never again see a product like this appear on the scene. Even if I was to purchase fabric that has been tested, thread that has been tested, fastenings and findings that have been testing, it would still be illegal for me to make and sell ANYTING for a child using these items, apparently the act of sewing in my home could introduce lead and phthalates. (umm...by the way...no...not unless I smoke, which by the way is still legal around children even though this is a well known way to introduce several harmful chemicals to young kids....but that is a different topic and not something I care to debate).
I want to know my children are safe, I want to protect them as much as possible too. I am not saying that no testing should occur, I think we need to find a better way to do it. I also think that we should be allowed to make decisions for our own families, what is safe for them what is not. I cannot say that I have a great answer or a great idea, but I just don't think this harsh blanket decision is the answer!!
I do not agree with the fact that this has been a very covert operation...did you know about it? Go to your local consignment store...do they know about it? Check out this article from the LA Times, they contacted local retailers, thrift stores, consignment stores, most were unaware. Who really benefits from this law? What will families who can't afford to buy their clothes new, who rely on thrift stores and clothing drives for their children? Will they be able to afford clothing now, new, at increased prices? Will it be safer for their children to go around in old clothes, poorly fitting and out of season because of these laws.
Even if you have never bought anything from a crafter, a consignment store, or a thrift store - think of the piles of clothes and toys your children have now, what will you do with them when they are out grown. If they aren't labeled and tested, after February 10, 2009 you will have to just throw them away. You cannot donate them, sell them on ebay, craigslist, at a yard sale - they will head to the curb with your weekly trash and garbage.
What can you do?
- Pass the news along - let everyone know about this and make their own decisions on how they feel about it
- Research this for yourself, understand this law and what it means
- Decide what action you want to take (contact your congressmen, nothing, start a baby product black market, something I haven't thought of :)
I realize I may have missed some information - please look into this Act and decide what action if any you would want to take. Here are some great links I have found that gave me a lot of information and are a little better written:
Eco Child's Play (great article covering the possibly exemption of natural products)
Baby Bug Creations (has a sample letter to send to your congressperson)
Happy Panda (some great clarification here)
Please let me know what you think - do you think I am completely off - did I miss any info - do you agree? do you disagree?