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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

 

 

Wednesday
Jan142009

books are safe (sort of) for now (I think)

Well, it may be old news by now, but at 3:33 p.m. I got an email from CPSIA (I'm not special, just signed up for email updates here). It was a letter in response to the letter sent by Allan Adler and Ed McCoyd of the Association of American Publishers, dated Nov. 23. (wow, at that rate we may get a response to our many letters by Summer!) you can read it here

Or, allow me to summarize as I try hard to let the optimist in me win the wrestling match... It says that books (at least they clearly defined what a book is... really, that is a very important issue here) are exempt from the law. Well, sort of... or, they are for now, but there's no assurance that that won't change.

Reading it was like watching one of those wildlife videos from an African watering hole. (stick with me here) The lovely gazelle gracefully walks up to the edge to get a drink. "oh, pretty gazelle, quenching your thirst... how nice" but all the while you just KNOW there's a big, hungry crocodile below the surface. You want to enjoy the peaceful tranquility of the gazelle, but *SNAP* there goes its head... well, you know the rest.

So, the letter goes on for a couple of pages talking about all of the great exemptions and clarifications (oh, pretty gazelle) but it ends with the sharp-toothed paragraph:

"The views expressed in this letter are provided pursuant to my authority described in 16 C.F.R. 1000.7 and have not been reviewed or approved by the Commission. They are based on the best available information at the time they were written. They may be superseded at any time by the Commission, or by operation of law.   Sincerely, Cheryl A. Falvey"

*SNAP*

Well, Cheryl, what's taking you so long getting back to all of us if nothing you say actually means anything?

poor gazelle.

This is why the only solution here is for Congress to re-write the law making its intentions clear. Only Congress can do that. Apparently some of our Representatives are not aware of this process (based on my conversations with their aides). I'd like to suggest that they learn about it where I did, tv.

The real problem with all of this is that the bill was written (and voted on) in sweepingly vague terms and it appointed a committee (I don't think the "c" should be capitalized) of unelected officials to determine and administer what it actually says. Why not just save paper and say "do whatever you have to do to fix stuff"?

Should it be comforting to us that (as they say) they probably won't come after everyone, but it's that they can. Go about your business, 'cause the law only matters if you get caught. And trrrrrrust us. The assurance  that we are safe is that they don't have the resources to police everyone. But if the fine is $100,000 per violation, that's going to beef up the budget significantly, yes?

Well, you don't want to read the rambling conspiracy theories of a sleepless future law-breaker. What I am hoping is that all of these groups (small manufacturers, crafters, publishers, libraries, homeschoolers, greenies) will continue to focus on this prescience setting, ambiguous law and what really needs to be changed. If we just let CPSIA shoot each one of with novice to shut us up, they can turn around and "supersede at any time" and we're all back where we started.

I am posting some more great links I've come across, so see above.

And below I am adding a sample letter (based on the sample letter from the Handmade Toy Alliance, with more emphasis on what I believe is crucial), just to make it easy for you to cut, paste, edit, personalize, print, sign and mail. Do with it as you please, but PLEASE do keep after your Representatives...

 

From: [your name and address]

To: [your congress person or senator]

Re: The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) and its devistating impact as-is


Dear [your congress person or senator],

The economic crisis in our country is distressing to millions of Americans. That is largely why it concerns me that under the CPSIA, many small business owners will be driven out of business, deepening the crisis. The premise of self reliance and entrepreneurship on which this country was founded is in jeopardy.

Like many people, I was deeply concerned by the dangerous and poisonous toys that large Chinese toy manufacturers have been selling to our families. And, I was pleased that Congress acted quickly to protect America's children by enacting the CPSIA.

However, I am very concerned that the CPSIA's mandates for third party testing and labeling will have a dramatic and negative effect on small businesses whose safety record has always been exemplary. It will devastate small manufacturers and home businesses that create children's products such as clothes, handmade goods and toys for children, beautiful Native American artifacts, children's books, adaptive products for children with disabilities, and classroom and homeschool materials. These small businesses simply cannot afford the $300-$4,000 price tag per product that approved Third Party testers are charging.

With the economic crisis we find ourselves in, fewer families will be able to afford the higher costs of the goods of the goods that remain available. Any company that is able to remain in business will undoubtedly raise prices due to increased compliance costs. Everyone will have to pay more for the remaining available goods, deepening the effects of the economic crisis for millions of families as well as limiting the choices that parents can make for their children.

I am troubled that the law was written in such vague terms by Congress, and left to be interpreted by a committee of unelected staff. Any exemptions made or rules set by the CPSIA are of little consolation to those who will be most impacted, because those rules are subject to change without having to conform to the same standards that we expect of our elected Representatives in upholding Constitutional rights by establishing reasonable parameters of even the strictest law. I urge you to delay the Feb. 10 compliance date to give time for Congress to re-write HR 4040 in a way that clarifies its true intentions, taking into consideration the many recommendations that have been presented (including elimination of “redundant testing” in cases such as the higher standards set by GOTS certified materials and other voluntary Third Party testing that many in this industry already submit to, and an exemption to third party testing requirements for micro-businesses similar to the exemptions granted by the FDA for small producers under the food labeling laws). Small businesses are being damaged even as the date rapidly approaches.

These toy makers, crafters, publishers and small home based businesses have earned and kept the public's trust. They provide jobs for thousands and quality playthings and educational products for hundreds of thousands, and they deserve a permanent solution to these issues. Their unique businesses should be protected.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,



[your name]

 

Monday
Jan122009

the latest, as of now (?)

 

I really do agree that the best approach at this point is to call. I hate the phone. Hate making calls, answering calls, even listening to and leaving voicemails. But sometimes you've gotta suck it up...

I just got off the phone with a very nice woman at my Senator, Pat Robert's office. (ironic that on his homepage he is reading children's books... if the law isn't changed, he may have to update that photo!)

She said that all of the Representitives' offices and the CPSIA are being inundated with our concerns (yay, fellow inundators!), so they at least hear us. Will they listen? They do start by putting the blame on the CPSIA and saying that we're all waiting for them to clarify the law. But I told her that I KNOW that only Congress can change the law, and I WANT congress to change and clarify the law BEFORE unimaginable damage is done on Feb. 10. According to her, Bobby Rush (the author of the bill) is "considering" calling a hearing to push back the date and re-evaluate based on implications. We'll see. She said to check back Monday.

Let's encourage Rep. Rush to "consider" doing the right thing... call, write, and even join this campaign. I'm going to.

In fact, I just spent 30 minutes on the phone with a very nice gentleman from Rep. Rush's office, who I'm sure was kicking himself for answering the phone the whole time. He said (after putting me on hold and "checking") that Rep. Rush is not having a hearing, but that the CPSIA is "considering" hearing what people have to say. (they estimate about 250 responses, according to this document) He says that the language in the CPSIA statement issued regarding component testing (he asked me to share it with you, so here it is) we can (and should) interpret it to say that if you sell a product, you are a "reseller". That's a big one. Andrew, from Rep. Rush's office promised me it was true. Also that we are not in violation of the law unless we knowingly sell a product containing lead or other banned chemicals. So, (I made sure he was really clear about this) if you KNOW that all components of your product are safe because they have passed any testing (GOTS are pretty legit., so organic should be safe), and even if something you sell (wholesale or retail) is found to have lead but you didn't know about it, you are not subject to the penalties.

Now, Andrew's authority is not confirmed, but he said that this is that office's interpretation of the law and these statements from the CPSIA. Since his office wrote it, maybe we're safe. Maybe. (he also said that this was a logistical nightmare, especially the timing of it, what with the new administration coming in and all... wow, I guess they weren't aware that that was going to be happening when they set the dates!)

If you want to give him a call, I'm sure he'd love to hear from you too 202-225-4372 (poor guy, I really did feel like he was on "our side")

In the meantime, let's add a couple of commas to that number of responses that the CPSIA expects to get. Look at that form, follow theur guidelines, and send, send, send!

okay, if I don't get some work done, I am going to be the one putting us out of business!

 

Monday
Jan122009

some terrific articles

In my research (long hours in my pjs at the computer, crying at the scope of this, neglecting work and even personal hygene... what's that smell?! ewww...) I have come across some really good articles, which I will post here. What makes me sad is that although some of them were written a month ago, the information is still current. Let's keep praying (and screaming) that next month we'll be back to business (and regular showers!)

http://www.rescuemarketing.com/blog/2008/12/15/cpsia-and-homemade-toys/comment-page-1/#comment-3492

http://worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=85542

Saturday
Jan102009

will kids be kicked out of libraries?

wild things

"when I was a kid, Johnny, the government let us read books!"

publishers are freaking out too

Friday
Jan092009

a couple of great bits...

This is a link to the article that I was interviewed for by the fabulous Suzanne Tobias of The Wichita Eagle:

http://www.kansas.com/news/story/656850.html

and a fantastic letter (bravo, Congressman Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY))

cpsc_kids_clothing_CPSC_LTR_jan_07_09.pdf

power to the people!!! KEEP IT UP!

More soon, gotta make pillows! (oh, yeah, that is exactly what I SHOULD be doing anyway!!!)

~Heather