The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) may not be an Improvement

On February 10th, 2009 The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act will go into effect which willput strict safety measures on product made for children and requires that toys and product made for children under 12 be tested for safety (specifically lead) content by independent labs and labeled with their material contents.  This Act is largely in response to millions of toys that were imported from China and recalled just this past summer, that had lead levels far beyond legal limits.

At first glance, this sounds like a wonderful piece of legislation until one thinks about it further (which apparently too many politicians did not do.)

In our already struggling economy, this will place additional financial burden on EVERY SINGLE manufacturer and retailer of children’s products.   This includes everyone from major retailers down to the handmade producers of ogranic children’s clothes or natural waldorf toys.   It doesn’t matter whether there is no way there could be lead in the product, it still has to be tested. Unfortunately, unlike  some major manufacturers, small independent producers do not have the financial means to test the products they make.

Consider that even major retailers will have to pull products from their shelves that have not been properly tested and labeled.  This means either dramatically reducing their prices for quick sale and taking a huge loss, or destroying them.   With most retailers already struggling, consider the further detrimental impact this will have on our economy.

Most handmade artists are particularly concientious and responsible about their work and assuring that it meets regulations and standards.  A large percentage  have already researched what they would have to do to comply.  To the dismay of many they have discovered that the costs of testing on toy could run anywhere from $500 to over $1500 or even more.  (I read somewhere that testing something like a child’s telescope could run over $15,000!) Some quotes they have received from labs have stated that tests would run approximately $150 per material.  Imagine the handmade doll maker who uses five different threads, four different fabrics, wood, and plastic in their handmade doll, which they spend ten hours making and only retail for $35.  Now do the math.

This law has no loopholes for artists who have spent years doing everything they could to use only natural materials, and to be very aware of what they use in their creations. This law also has provided no financial means to ease the burden put on businesses who simply cannot afford what it demands they do. Which means, that we may see thousands about thousands of small business destroyed in a time when we need to be doing everything we can to support our small businesses.

While we need to do everything we can to protect our children,we have to do so with a level head and educated decisions.  Putting thousands of companies, individuals and small organizations of out business who have never done anything to harm children and have always strived to create quality products is certainly not an improvement.  Furthermore, when everyone else goes out of business, what toy and childrens’ product manufacturers will remain? (Probably the same manufacturers who were responsible for bringing all the toys with lead content into the US in the first place)

Where can you go to be heard or learn more?

Visit these following links (not all endorsed or reviewed by Art Addict, but offered up for you to research)

Response from the National Association of Manufacturers