Saturday, January 17, 2009

Come February Our Tots May Not Be Able To Visit Any Libraries and More

My regular readers know that I am a huge fan child products made by small companies, especially when it is mother owned and operated. These companies have always been good to me and it feels good to purchase from them. Right now, I’m worried...really worried for them. I’ve had three companies within the last week announce to me that they were going to have to close their doors due to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008. All 3 of the stores that are closing are clothing stores! Where is the lead in an organic shirt, for goodness sakes? One lady I know of had a lab quote her on what the testing would cost and for a $40 shirt it would cost her $1,425 per item!!!

I also enjoy getting great deals and consignment stores. I get so excited when I find a product marked down low that I had been drooling over but couldn’t afford to give full price for. Do you realize that with the new legislation it will be illegal to sell used clothing for children under 12 that isn’t tested and labeled? Okay, so first of all this is affecting the stores but it is also affecting the consumers. Those of us who shop smart will no longer have this as an option. It also hurts the recycling movement, as these items may now make it to a landfill instead. Did you know that books are in danger as well? Some are even saying libraries may have to close! (See The Consumer Product Safety Commision stated that on February 10, 2009 "public, school, academic and museum libraries [will have] to either remove all their books or ban all children under 12 from visiting the facilities."

I also sell my daughter’s clothing on ebay after she has outgrown them...but it looks like I won’t be able to do this any longer either. I’ve heard that you can’t even sell children’s items at garage sales after this law takes effect!

Just today, I received an email from a lovely company who makes the most beautiful items with her own two hands-Sew Cute By Me. I feel like she was really able to convey what she’s going through and she’s given me permission to copy the letter here for you all to read:

I am writing to you in regards to the new Consumer Protection Safety Information Act of 2008 that has already been passed through Congress and was signed into law by President Bush. On the surface, the law promises to keep our children safe from the lead paint and other harmful chemicals on imported toys from China that made their way into our homes in 2007. Unfortunately, what this new law really does, is impose expensive third party testing rules that only large corporations will be able to afford… the same corporations who started this whole mess by not monitoring the quality of items they were importing into this country. Those of us making high quality handmade items for children will be forced to either sell illegally, or shut down. Ironically, in the end we will be left with only plastic imported toys from China available in the market.
According to the new law, every manufacturer, from large corporations and their plastic toys to stay at home moms making handmade baby quilts, is equally required to comply with the third party testing requirement. The problem with the third party testing requirement? The law requires that the “end result” be tested. My products are custom made, and each individual pillow is different from the next. Having each individual pillow tested would be cost prohibitive. Only mass produced products will be able to absorb the costs of testing, eliminating one of a kind, unique gifts for children. My pillows are made from fabric, ribbon, hypoallergenic stuffing and water based, non-toxic paints. None of these materials contain lead. So… if a product is equal to the sum of its parts and each of its parts contain 0 ppm lead, does the end result contain lead? According to the CSPC, we need to put the product through expensive third party testing to figure out this simple equation. 0 + 0 + 0 = ?
I have more faith in the untested handmade items for children created right here in the United States than I ever will in batches of imported plastic toys from China, regardless of how strict our testing requirements are. I purchase my supplies right here in the US, where lead has been banned from paint since 1977. I care about every single child who receives one of my products, and I would never use hazardous materials. Can these large corporations say the same thing?
I intend to fight for my right to use my God given talents to create cherished, handmade gifts for children and to survive during these economic times. Please join me and other artisans in our fight to have this law repealed and rewritten. We don’t want to eliminate testing… we just want it to be fair for all.
I think Dr. Seuss says it best…..…

"This", cried the Mayor, "is your town's darkest hour!
The time for all Whos who have blood that is red
To come to the aid of their country!", he said.
"We've GOT to make noises in greater amounts!
So, open your mouth, lad! For every voice counts!"
Please see the attached links below and help us by writing your Congressman, voting at Change For America or signing a petition.
Sample letter, petition and info on how to contact your congressman:

Thanks for Your Time!!
Aerin Kaiser, Designer and Owner
Sew Cute by Me Designs, LLC

Also, recently I was contacted by Whimsical Walney who informed me their store will be closing due to this new law. Therefore she’s having a sale of all her shirts for $15.00 (50% off);

What can you do?1) Email or call the CPSIA - the office of the CPSC ombudsman 888-531-9070. on Component Parts Testing accepted through January 30,
3) Call your representatives. For their contact information just enter your zip code.
4) Make your voice heard by voting on this issue. The top 3 in each category will be presented to President-elect Obama.
6) Spread the word! Write about this on your blog. Tell others about this issue and encourage them to do the same.
7) Join others in fighting this cause.Facebook groupTwitter search
Join the etsy community in the virtual chat with CPSIA Small Business Ombudsmen or send a handmade children’s item that will become “hazardous goods” as of 2/9/09 to Bobby Rush, founder of H.R. 4040.