You most likely don't know that there is a new law (CPSIA) that just passed congress and has the entire children's products industry (those of us who know about it) turned up-side-down. We will have more of a summary of it on our blog soon, but in essence our government has passed this law (under the radar) that requires, as of Feb. 10, 2009 all products manufactured and/or marketed for children under 12 years old to pass testing for lead levels in their approved labs. Great, right? Well, they don't mean just the big guys that have been selling toxic products made in developing countries, they mean all of us. The grandma in Ohio who sells hand made dolls and sells them at church bazaars, the mom who makes organic slings and sells them online so she can stay home with her kids. And us, making organic nursing pillows.
The big problem for us is that those labs charge as much as $4,000 PER PRODUCT (even if the same exact materials were used to make it). According to these rules, we would have to have each product in each fabric tested, ie: slipcovers and Nesting Pillows count as 2 products because we offer extra slipcovers for sale. So, by their definition, we have 40 products. And the penalty for non-compliance? It is a felony. Uh, huh... 5 years in federal prison and $100,000 fine per product. Even though we clearly label and market our products as "intended for the use of the adult caregiver".
It is so wide-spread that it also includes books and used clothes. Yes, that rare first edition copy of Alice in Wonderland that no child would ever be allowed to touch? And the entire inventory of children's products in every thrift store, consignment store, Goodwill? They are to be "treated as toxic material and destroyed". And store owners are responsible for acquiring certification for all of the products they sell, including current inventory, or they could be subject to the same penalties. It is madness.
Everyone has been writing their Representatives, but the truth is that no politician is going to vote against something titled "Child Safety" because then it looks like they are against child safety next time they are up for re-election. And most of them probably didn't read past the first paragraph of the CPSIA and assumed it only applied to the big guys who can afford testing and should be testing imported goods from developing countries anyway. So, not only did President Bush sign it, but it passed unanimously. They didn't even consider the reproductions this will have in so many areas. They have underestimated the importance of "cottage industry" on the economy!
The irony is that those of us who are being hurt by this are the ones who have been screaming at the government to make children's products safer for years, and in fact started our own businesses to be proactive in providing safe alternatives to the imported junk. We know where our materials come from. We know they are safe. Not a single item that has been connected with safety issues was made in the US, especially handmade or organic! In fact, the standards for being called Organic are so much higher than these regulations that it's ridiculous! (the new law sets the tested limit for lead at 600 parts per million (due to be reduced to 300ppm in August of 2009). GOTS maximum lead allowance is 1ppm which is for outerwear. For all other fabrics the maximum is .2ppm - much, much less than this new law allows!)* We are all for regulating lead content and other toxins in children's products, but it is important that laws are passed that will be effective in eliminating a problem, not creating an avalanche of others. (for some suggested revisions, click here)
Blessed Nest can survive by re-marketing our products for their other uses... "bed pillows", "yoga pillows", etc. which would mean 6 years of marketing down the drain. But we feel that this is our chance to stand up for what is right and use our voice to defend not only the really "little guys", but our freedom to make choices and peruse small business in the first place! After all, we are not a nursing pillow company, but a company who nurtures... that is our mission statement.
This kind of unreasonable, broad sweeping law seems more like special interest politics (cottage industry, esp. handmade children's products are the only businesses that seem to be prospering right now, which is a threat to the big companies), and too "Big Brother" for me to stomach.
Donna and I are spreading the word all over the internet, telling friends, and I was interviewed by a reporter from one of the largest newspapers in Kansas, the Wichita Eagle. I plan to send that article to the AP so it will get picked up and more people will know about it. And we are signing petitions. And believing that good can come of anything.
So, even though I should be conducting business, making pillows, ordering supplies, talking to customers... I am trying to do all that plus doing my part to save democracy and freedom. All in a day's work, right?
You can help by spreading the word, signing petitions (links below), and contacting your local legislators (For an automated method of emailing all of your legislators click here.).
love to the moon and back,
(weary President and Founder of Blessed Nest)
*taken from Harmony Art, the manufacturer of the fabric that we use, who not only has passed GOTS and is certified Organic, but she is a forerunner in those areas! She is the reason we were able to go "all Organic".
"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
Our Representitves are hearing us (well, so far these are):
Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY)
Congressman J. Gresham Barrett of South Carolina
see how your Senator voted here
and your Congressman here (spoiler... if it's anyone but Ron Paul, they voted yes)
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 ~ firstname.lastname@example.org 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
Blessed Nest Posts On this page~