something needs to be done

something needs to be done

I was talking to my mom tonight and I was surprised to hear that she hadn’t heard about the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). So, I sent her a link and I decided that I’d blog about it here to help promote awareness.

This is something I feel very strongly against. I think it’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater – and in general I oppose laws that do that. If you don’t know what I am talking about, here is an overview I pulled from this site:

The CPSIA aims to set what would be the most stringent guidelines worldwide for children’s products containing lead and phthalates (a chemical used in some vinyl products). Due to largely go into effect February 10th, 2009, anything at all intended for children ages 12 and under must meet these guidelines with certifications of doing so from a CPSC accredited laboratory.

As a father of two, this sounds great! In fact, I was so concerned about lead contamination in toys that I started my own company making unfinished wooden toys. But as a manufacturer who must comply with this law, I’ve learned it’s not as pretty a picture as it might seem.

For starters, anything, and I mean anything, intended for children 12 and under must be tested, at a cost of up to $4,000 with an average of around $500. The difficulty for most small and mid-sized companies, however, is that they will often be the ones responsible for having this testing done, for each item they make, per batch.

This would, in effect, make it illegal to sell anything second-hand without hundreds of dollars in third party testing first. That means… Goodwill, Craigslist, eBay will all be adults only. When your kids have grown out of their clothes, you better make them into rags or throw them into the trash. And you have to buy everything new from large retailers who have the ability to absorb testing costs without it affecting their business. And forget about trying to make some extra money with your sewing abilities or woodcarving abilities – unless the government agrees with your declaration of it being for adults only.

This is truly a scary law and I shudder at the thought of what our economy (and our own personal ability to clothe and entertain our children) will look like once it goes into effect. I plead with you – we only have a little over a month. Write your congressman, sign the petition, stay informed – we must do all we can to oppose it.

This site is a really good overview, and includes many links at the bottom where you can show your support and read more information about what this is exactly. You can also go here and here for more information (the latter link provides a sample letter you can use to send to your Congressman and/or Senator). As well, you can vote for it here. They have dubbed February 10th as National Bankruptcy Day – let’s do our part to see that it doesn’t become that!

(Oh and I just want to point out that when this went through the House, Ron Paul was the only one who opposed it. :-))

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