You may have read my post earlier this month about how my cousin helped me decipher some of the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) guidelines as they apply to my making and selling amigurumi dolls. But if not, I'll boil it all down for you...
The CPSIA will help prevent manufacturers from selling toys with potentially hazardous components (lead and phthalates) by requiring extensive third-party testing and labeling on all toys and child-care items made for children under 12. The regulation is a reaction to the appearance of imported toys with lead or other hazardous content.
The handmade toy alliance has this to say about the CPSIA regulation:
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 parts, 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 updating their molds to include batch labels.
For small American, Canadian, and European toymakers, however, the costs of mandatory testing, to the tune of up to $4,000 per toy, will likely drive them out of business. And 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. Toy makers won't be the only ones impacted by the CPSIA, the thousands of US businesses who offer clothing, jewelry and other gifts for children --in essence-- the entire children's industry will be as well.
The CPSIA simply forgot to exclude the class of toys that have earned and kept the public's trust. The result, unless the law is modified, is that handmade children's products will no longer be legal in the US.
Thriving small businesses are crucial to the financial health of our nation. Let's amend the CPSIA so that all businesses large and small are able to comply and survive!
So, what can you do to help save handmade toys? For starters, check out the Help Us Save Handmade Toys page on CoolMomPicks. From this page, you can get the Save Handmade! button for your blog and find contact information for your congress person or senator.
You can also check out the Handmade Toy Alliance web site, read more, and sign their online petition. To keep up on the latest, you can also become a fan of the Handmade Toy Alliance on Facebook or follow them with Twitter.
I hope you will take a few minutes to follow up on some of these opportunities and show your support for the handmade toy industry.