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Child Safety & the CPSIA





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"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
- Margaret Mead

New: Here to Stay~ The latest on the CPSIA

a wonderful, sipmlified summary of the law (thank you, AAFA)

the "sort of" exemption press realese for Thrift stores and Consignment stores (for now)

Our Representitves are hearing us (well, so far these are):

Rep Sam Brownback (R-KS)

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY)

Congressman J. Gresham Barrett of South Carolina

Helpful Links

see how your Senator voted here

and your Congressman here (spoiler... if it's anyone but Ron Paul, they voted yes)

cpsc_kids_clothing_CPSC_LTR_jan_07_09.pdf

Change.org

ipetitions

CPSIA Impacts on Children's Apparel Industry~Petition

Cool Mom Picks ~Save Handmade

Handmade Toy Alliance

Simple Steps to Non-Toxic Kids~TheSmartMama.com

Jennifer ~ jennifer@thesmartmama.com offers lead testing for products. Her services comply with the CPSIA regulations ( through August 2009) after wich 3rd party testing will have to be done if the law stays as is.

~ Jennifer is a Green, non toxic, health mom and consumer product attorney, blogger, and author consultant speaker.



 

Articles and Press

The Wichita Eagle writer, Suzanne Tobias' story and follow-up

the most lovely wooden toys featured in a local paper

our "unexpected" response is getting some press

 

Blessed Nest Posts On this page~

A Couple Of Great Bits

CPSIA and Blessed Nest

The latest as of now

Will kids get kicked out of Libraries

Some Terrific Articles

Save Handmade

 

 

Friday
Jan302009

Just as we all thought~ Mattel hired lobbying firm to lobby on bill

The latest scoop... The DC Examiner posted this wonderful yet nauseating article revealing the truth about who made the first phone call to hire a lobbyist group starting this whole CPSIA nightmare . In late August 2007, Mattel, the largest toymaker in the world, hired a new lobbying firm, Johnson, Madigan, Peck, Boland & Stewart, to lobby on the bill. One of their lobbyists on this issue was Sheila Murphy, recently the legislative director for Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democratic member of the Commerce Committee’s Consumer Affairs subcommittee. Klobuchar became a cosponsor of the bill in late September 2007.

Washington toy story shows why regulation helps the big guys


By Timothy P. Carney
Examiner Columnist | 1/30/09 7:03 AM

Thousands of self-employed businessmen, artists, and boutique owners who make or deal in hand-crafted children’s toys, clothes, or furniture could be out of work next month. A 2008 federal law, with the salutary-sounding name “Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act,” could drive these craftsmen out of business.

Big toymakers, who helped write the bill, are ready for the regulations that will go into effect Feb. 10, while smaller toymakers look likely to suffer. It’s another example of how Washington, when it regulates an industry, often helps the biggest businesses in that industry while crushing the smaller guys.

This toy story begins in the summer of 2007 when toy-making goliath Mattel was thrice forced to recall products made in China after discovering dangerous levels of lead. That fall, as Congress took up the bill reauthorizing the Consumer Products Safety Commission, consumer groups pushed for stricter safety standards on toys and other children’s products.

In September 2007, Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., introduced a bill in response to the lead-in-toys scare. The bill became law in August 2008, making it illegal to sell children’s products—toys, furniture, clothes, et cetera—that have not undergone third-party testing for hazardous materials.

The bill also declared that any children’s product was a “banned hazardous substance” if any portion of it had a lead content greater than 600 parts per million. Also all manufacturers of children’s products—big or small—are required by the law to create registries of every product they sell and put unique tracking numbers or marks on each product.

This third-party testing portion of the bill goes into effect Feb. 10, which has small toymakers up in arms. The Handmade Toy Alliance is one of many groups mobilizing to keep the CPSC from destroying artisan toymaking.

Large manufacturers who mass produce toys or children’s furniture will face some added costs from the bill, but these are costs they can bear—especially because the costs will be industry wide thus passed onto consumers.

Indeed, many of the bigger manufacturers have already implemented testing procedures to comply with the federal requirements. Their smaller competitors, however, will suffer under the burden.

A stay-at-home mom who sews children’s dolls on the side or a small woodworker who sells a few child-sized chairs each year will find these regulations much more burdensome if not impossible.

The CPSC staff has proposed a rule that would exempt from the testing requirement products made solely of “unadulterated,” unpainted, unfinished, and untreated wood, “natural fibers,” gemstones, or other “natural materials.” This rule, if approved, will not be finalized for months, while the testing requirement becomes effective in two weeks.

Is this disproportionate impact on the smaller businesses an “unintended consequence,” as many now say? When you look at the lobbying records, it doesn’t look so.

Mattel—whose leaded toys kicked off this whole scare—beefed up its lobbying effort when the legislation appeared. The company’s lobbying budget, which had been steady at $120,000 per year from 2002 through 2006 ballooned to $540,000 in 2007 and $650,000 in 2008—a 442% increase from two years earlier.

In late August 2007, Mattel, the largest toymaker in the world, hired a new lobbying firm, Johnson, Madigan, Peck, Boland & Stewart, to lobby on the bill. One of their lobbyists on this issue was Sheila Murphy, recently the legislative director for Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democratic member of the Commerce Committee’s Consumer Affairs subcommittee. Klobuchar became a cosponsor of the bill in late September 2007.

Hasbro, the world’s No. 2 toymaker, had never had a Washington lobbyist, according to federal lobbying filings, before October 2007, when the company hired the Duberstein Group, headed by Ken Dubertstein, the former White House Chief of Staff under Ronald Reagan. Since then, Hasbro has spent $500,000 on lobbying.

But these industry giants weren’t resisting regulation—they were embracing it. Carter Keithley, president of the Toy Industry Association—of whom Mattel is the biggest member—told this columnist “we were early proponents of adopting mandatory laws to require toy testing.”

The regulations give the big toymakers a federal stamp of approval, and they make it harder for upstarts to challenge the big guys—or even survive. Without the regulation, parents might put more trust in a local, independent toymaker they know. After the regulation goes into effect, that toymaker is out of work.

Regulation proponents usually say anti-regulation types are shills for big business. Washington’s toy story makes that claim look even more like make-believe.

Examiner staff columnist Timothy P. Carney is author of “The Big Ripoff: How Big Business and Big Government Steal Your Money.”

 

Wednesday
Jan282009

a little cut and paste

Here's another letter that you are welcome to use as an outline for sending to your local representatives (and the other sponsors of HR4040, Waxman and Rush):

(I am trying to refrain, at least temporarily from my negative pithy comments... let's just hope for the best)

 

REF: Section 102 Mandatory Third-Party Testing of Component Parts

Dear ________________,

I am writing to express my very strong support for an interpretation of the third-party testing requirements under Section 102 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) that would permit testing and certification of component parts at the component level, rather than after the product is finished.

Adopting component level testing and certification would significantly strengthen the consumer product safety system and lead to cost effective compliance, especially for small businesses.

I am also adamantly opposed to redundant testing that is called for by the current requirements of compliance of HR4040. I find it not only wasteful and unreasonable, but highly suspicious that the law is actually requiring testing rather than safety. Products that are made from materials which have already passed safety testing that is stricter and even more reliable than those from your approved labs should be sufficient for compliance under this law if its intention truly is safety. For instance, the internationally accepted GOTS requirements for organic certification are as much as 300% higher than the CPSIA standards, yet you deem materials "hazardous" that have been recognized as not only lead-free but safe for every person (and the environment) at every level of production, distribution and consumption.

I urge you as my representative to call a meeting of Congress that will work to restrict the power of the Committee to those areas which will bring about positive safety measures rather than doing the harm that could otherwise surely result. As a member of the Legislative Branch of our government, only you can make the necessary changes to HR4040. In addition to obvious restrictions of power, I ask that you quickly adopt and promulgate common sense rules that permit component level testing and certification under Section 102, and eliminates the need for redundant testing.

Sincerely,

name, address, phone number, email address

 

okay, I can't help it... have you seen that good ol' Waxman has been working hard to make sure that the DTV deadline is pushed back, but still nothing but lies about CPSIA?! Well, that's just terrific that we'll still be able to watch Wheel of Fortune no matter how old our tvs are, because lots of people are gonna have lots of time on their hands once YOU put them out of business!!!

Saturday
Jan242009

This is our most desperate hour. Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi; you're my only hope.

Does anyone else feel like you are stuck in a bad Si-Fi plot? This is crazy.

Please read thisand send your CA 30th District friends an invitation to chat with their honorable Rep Henry Waxman (cough, gag) and remind him that it's not nice to lie. He apparently needs a refresher course in the legislative process, so he can stop wasting paper writing letters that point responsibility to the sacrificial lambs of the CPSIA.

On an equally important note, please look at this video(get a mug of something strong before watching it, especially if you are a "mommy blogger") and tell me if the term "hanging chad" rings a bell. Who did that woman cross to keep getting the "human shield" position? At least someone from this decade is doing her styling. (I hear she recently resigned from the CPSC... maybe there was an opening at the PR office for Guantanamo) More fun commentary at the National Bankruptcy Day website.

It is important to note that contrary to what some of us (who, me?) wanted to believe (whether we liked it or not) Obama can't stop this, other than encouraging his buddies (Congressman Waxman and Congressman Rush) to do the right thing. I am concerned that he may not have time to get together for a round of golf any time in the next couple of weeks, so energy on getting him to help is pretty much a waste. Ironically, he could have done more before he was elected President. (he didn't even vote on HR4040 when he was in the Senate) It's up to us to persuade them, so let's get after the guys that can actually do something before it's too late.

Obama’s hold order does NOT affect CPSIA

Does anyone else want to nominate Kathleen Fasanella from Fashion Incubator as our queen? This is how I picture her

 

Wednesday
Jan212009

Oh, Scully, I want to believe...

I can't say it any better than what Fashion Incubator posted on their blog Monday, so read it here and then pop back.

I cannot stress it enough, cannot say it too many times, cannot plead and scream and shake virtual shoulders enough (be glad you aren't the poor clerk at my local health food store that made the mistake of saying "the CPS-huh? What is it?")...

As horrible as this is for our businesses, for our community, even for our children, the bigger evil here is what needs our full attention. Personally, I don't give a rip what the CPSIA offers to hush the screaming masses. The point is that they should not have the authority to define the parameters of a law in the first place. The worst part of HR4040 is that it is Congress passing the buck to people who have no accountability whatsoever to voters. It's win-win, because Congress looks concerned about our kids (and proactive... uh, finally) and someone else gets to be the bad guy. How ever horrible the "worst case" that the current officers of the CPSIA can dream up NOW, it is nothing compared to what they can make it say at any given time. And so if they pacify everyone (or at least those who are screaming the loudest) now, just know that while you are happily going about conducting business within the nice ol' CPSIA's concessions, they can revoke them without warning or notification at any time. The evil here isn't what they will do, it's what they have been given the power to do. And by "they", this can be the two officers who now make up the CPSIA, or any number of wingnuts with any number of agendas at any given time. This is scary stuff, folks.

The deeper I get into this, and the more I read and reason, the more "Moulder-ish" theories I come up with. But let's just stick with the facts at hand, and the benefit of the doubt. We have a new President. He happens to be one of the 17 who did not vote at all when HR4040 went before the Senate and Congress. He made a point of expressing during his campaign that he is "pro small business". And this issue was one of the 10 from change.org that were presented to him (since I'm sure he's had some slow days lately). And today I stumbled across this tidbit:

according to a Yahoo News headline, 

Obama halts all regulations pending review

although, if this means the Feb 10 date has been set aside, why are you just hearing about it now? Why isn't it on Fashion Incubator, Handmade Toy Alliance, etc? Is it possible that I got the scoop? Hmmm...

Maybe my conspiracy theories predictions are true, and the very first time the elite National Media will mention this mess will be when Obama, cape waving, announces that he has restored reason and in so doing, we have been saved. Whatever... but if he does, and if his superhero powers do not change the law itself (rather than issuing a very stern letter to get the parameters set), I'm going to keep fighting. Well intentioned or not, I refuse to live in fear of what "they" could do to me, even if "they" say "they" won't.

Thursday
Jan152009

could be just what we've been hoping for...

I wanted to share what could possibly be the end to the madness of the CPSIA mess. (oh, I am such a dreamer!)

After calling the office of every Representative who seemed to have any connection to this legislation (most of them acting like they had little idea what I was talking about), I just had the first ENCOURAGING conversation with an aide from my state Senator, Rep Sam Brownback. She was very knowledgeable and immediately told me that Rep Brownback is taking this very seriously and is treating it as a high priority. She said that in addition to "asking the CPSIA to clarify..." (as stated in a recent article in the Wichita Eagle) he is (these were her words) "as we speak, he is writing legislation that will define the parameters of the law" and that he understands the importance of Congress and the Senate to define the law and only allow CPSIA to enforce it. This could be great news, and I told her I would tell you.

Time will tell... is Sam Brownback my new hero? If so, I will drive to Wichita and give him a hug. (that's not a threat)