I'm all for strengthening the safety standards of mass-produced toys, clothes, and accessories made in China, and banning toxins like phthalates and lead. But this year, congress passed the ill-conceived Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act, a law which goes into effect in two months that will absolutely decimate the small toy and clothing manufacturers, independent artisans, and crafters who have already earned the public trust.
With this act going into effect February 10, 2009 so many people will be affected: Moms who sew beautiful handmade clothing, baby accessories and clothing out of the home, artists who have spent decades hand-carving trucks and cars out of natural woods, that guy at the craft show who sold you the cute handmade puzzle--even larger US companies who employ local workers and have not once had any sort of safety issue will no longer be able to sell their goods. Not without investing tens of thousands of dollars into third-party testing and labeling, just to prove that toys that never had a single toxic chemical in them still don't have a single toxic chemical in them.
How to Get Involved -- it only takes 5 minutes of your time!
-Find your congress person and senators and write a letter like the sample here.
Particularly if they serve on the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection or the House Committee on Small Business.
-Send an email directly to the CPSC or contact chairperson Nancy Nord at 301-504-7923
-Vote for amending the law on Change.org, digg style: With enough votes it will be presented to President Obama in January!
-Place the Save Handmade! button on your blog or website to help spread the word to everyone you know who cares about protecting the little guy and preserving beautiful items made with love for our children.
Other Fantastic Resources
-The Handmade Toy Alliance (check out their proposed changes, a lot of which make a whole lot of sense
-CPSIA Facebook Group
-CPSIA information group on ning
-Z Recommends: Five steps you can take to save natural toys (excellent reading)
-The Smart Mama
-Etsy business forums (including this specific thread on local media coverage)
-Twitter: Search using the #CPSIA hashtag
-Endangered Whimsy - a blog gallery of handmade products endangered by the CPSIA. Feel free to submit yours.