Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Perhaps you've heard something about a new piece of legislation, The CPSIA, which has become a complex and far-reaching issue, especially alarming to the many handmade artisans on Etsy who make their living creating and selling one-of-a-kind children's toys and clothing items. But it's more than that, so much more.
Due to the poor articulation of the legislation, this law will have a myriad of unintended and harmful effects on everything from libraries, handmade artisans, and teachers, to kids, the environment and the economy.
Here is a wonderful explanation of the CPSIA and the widespread effects it will have, written by Gretchen at The Boulie Blog (unless of course you would consider writing to your representative or senator!):
To the Parents of Young Students:
Due to the new law, expect to see the cost of school supplies sky rocket. While those paper clips weren't originally intended for your student to use, they will need to be tested now that your 11-year-old needs them for his school project. This law applies to any and all school supplies (textbooks, pencils, crayons, paper, etc.) being used by children under 12.
To the Avid Reader:
Due to the new law, children's books will be pulled from library and school shelves. There is no exemption for them. Here is an article from the American Library Association.
To the Lover of All Things Handmade:
Due to the new law, that blanket you originally had your eye on for $50 will now cost you around $1,000 after it's passed testing. But then it won't even be the one-of-a-kind blanket you were hoping for. Items are destroyed in the testing process making one-of-a-kind items virtually impossible. So that gorgeous hand-knit hat you bought your child this past winter won’t be available next winter.
To the Environmentalist:
Due to the new law, we're due to find items in non-compliance dumped into already overflowing landfills. Imagine not just products from the small business owners, but the big box stores as well. They can't sell it and they can't even give them away. If they are caught, it is a violation.
To the Second-Hand Shopper:
Due to the new law, you will now need to spend the money for that brand new pair of jeans for your 2-year old, rather than shop at the Goodwill for second hand. Many resale shops are eliminating children's items all together to avoid future lawsuits.
To the Entrepreneur:
Due to this new law, you will be forced to adhere to strict testing of your unique products or discontinue making and/or selling them. Small businesses will be likely to be unable to afford the cost of testing and be forced to close up shop. In a time when unemployment is reaching record highs, this doesn't bode well for the economy.
To the Antique Toy Collector:
Due to the new law, you'd better start buying now because it's all going to private collection and will no longer be available to purchase. “Because the new rules apply retroactively, toys and clothes already on the shelf will have to be thrown out if they aren't certified as safe.” Read about this in an article from The Wall Street Journal.
If you think this is exaggerating, here is a recent article from Forbes
And for those of you prepared for an intellectual workout, The CPSIA