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US handmade toys on 'endangered list' due to new law

By Adriana Stuijt     Jan 8, 2009 in Business
The Handmade Toy Alliance has published a massive picture data file of "endangered handmade toys' to highlight the problems with the new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act which goes into effect from February 10. The objection deadline is Jan. 20.
The new CPSIA law -- passed to protect American children from poisonous products from abroad, especially mainland China – also however, will require millions of American homecrafters and microbusinesses to have each of their new handmade unit-products made for children, tested at huge costs, ranging from $500 to $4,000 per product – and the law is retroactive. See law here
Their album of endangered American toys can be found online on
Lawmakers concerned:
Meanwhile there has been some encouraging news, writes Dan Marshall of the Handmade Toy Alliance today. Senator Patrick Leady of VT and Congressman Anthony Weiner of NY have both contacted the CPSC asking for changes to help microbusinesses. Also see my personal blog on the subject, here
Open Forum Jan 14 House Small Business Committee, DC
On Wednesday January 14, the US House Small Business Committee will hold an open forum on 'the state of the small business economy and identifying policies to promote an economic recovery.'
Homecrafters and microbusinesses manufacturing children's goods believe this may be their last opportunity to air their views to their government representatives personally , The hearing starts from 10am in the Hearing Room at 2360 Rayburn House Office at telephone (202) 225-4038 and fax: (202) 226-5276 or contact Press Secretary Duncan Neasham about this law see
" The CPSC has just issued proposed rules exempting certain natural materials, which helps, although we need them to exempt processed natural materials as well, such as dyed fabric.,' says Marshall.
"We also need the CPSC to change to all component-based testing, which would allow manufacturers to rely on certifications from the suppliers of their materials. In talking to our senators and representatives, we have learned that they have become very much aware of this issue now and several have contacted the CPSC asking for changes to help small businesses. Senator Patrick Leahy of VT and Congressman Anthony Weiner of NY have both been very supportive.' See:
Meanwhile the US microbusinesses and their lobby groups are keeping up the political pressure. They can still object before January 20 directly to the CPSC. And besides venting their anger by signing the petition online, microbusiness also can lodge their own formal complaints against the CPSIA before January 20 2009 via email to: Sec102ComponentPartsTesting@cpsc.gov and fax nr (USA) 301 504-0127 and also to the address provided in the last paragraph of this article. Comments must always be labelled: ‘Section 102 Mandatory Third-Party Testing of Component Parts'.
Under this new law, all toy manufacturers and producers of children’s products would have to spend from $500 to $4,000 to test each of their new children's products to obtain the CPSC-certificate proving their stock does not contain any lead or other poisons, they say. Microbusinesses are already hard-hit and would not be able to afford this. It was previously reported that second-hand children's goods would also fall under this law -- but there is considerable confusion about the way the law could be interpreted. It states the following in this regard:
b]Sellers of used children’s products, such as thrift stores and consignment stores, are not required to certify that those products meet the new lead limits, phthalates standard or new toy standards.
The new safety law does not require resellers to test children’s products in inventory for compliance with the lead limit before they are sold.
However, resellers cannot sell children’s products that exceed the lead limit and therefore should avoid products that are likely to have lead content, unless they have testing or other information to indicate the products being sold have less than the new limit.
Microbusinesses and the Handmade Toy Alliance have applied for exemptions for the testing requirements. If these are not granted before the deadline, they fear that tons of newly made children’s clothing and handmade toys in the USA, Europe and Canada may have to be shredded -- they can’t afford to have each of their unit-products tested to obtain the CPSC-certificates.
The Handmade Toy Alliance have submitted a list of suggestions to amend the law by adding exemptions for required testing of products’known by science to not contain lead’ such as wood, paper, cotton ‘and other similar materials.
And they also want the current requirement that each unit-product must be tested, changed to a ‘materials-based certification’ instead: “This would allow our members to rely on certifications from their materials’ suppliers, instead of repeating tests multiple times for each product made from those very same materials...”
Handcrafters and microbusiness believe that these exemptions could be added to the law before the deadline, without requiring Congress to rewrite it:
Our handcrafted children's products have earned public trust for years...
"Such a revision would not provide any loopholes which might result in dangerous toys being sold to the American public. The CPSIA simply forgot to exclude the class of children's goods that have earned and kept the public's trust: Toys, clothes, and accessories made in the US, Canada, and Europe. The result, unless the law is modified, is that handmade children's products will no longer be legal in the US. And if this law had been applied to the food industry, every farmers market in the country would be forced to close while Kraft and Dole prospered...' they write. See
Protect US microbusinesses:
"Further suggestions: the CPSC should create mechanisms to ‘protect or provide relief for micro-businesses’ similar to the way microbusinesses are protected by the FDA, which exempts small producers from food labeling requirements.
The Handmade Toy Alliance placed a petition online for people to sign which contain more than 13,000 signatures thus far here They have also applied to the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy for relief under the Regulatory Review & Reform Initiative to help them in their current efforts.
Following is the wording of the law:
Beginning February 10, 2009, children’s products cannot be sold if they contain more than 600 parts per million (ppm) total lead.
Certain children’s products manufactured on or after February 10, 2009 cannot be sold if they contain more than 0.1% of certain specific phthalates or if they fail to meet new mandatory standards for toys.
Under the new law, children’s products with more than 600 ppm total lead cannot lawfully be sold in the United States on or after February 10, 2009, even if they were manufactured before that date.
The total lead limit drops to 300 ppm on August 14, 2009.
The new law requires that domestic manufacturers and importers certify that children’s products made after February 10 meet all the new safety standards and the lead ban.
Sellers of used children’s products, such as thrift stores and consignment stores, are not required to certify that those products meet the new lead limits, phthalates standard or new toy standards.
The new safety law does not require resellers to test children’s products in inventory for compliance with the lead limit before they are sold.
However, resellers cannot sell children’s products that exceed the lead limit and therefore should avoid products that are likely to have lead content, unless they have testing or other information to indicate the products being sold have less than the new limit.
Those resellers that do sell products in violation of the new limits could face civil and/or criminal penalties.
http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml09/09086.html
While CPSC expects every company to comply fully with the new laws resellers should pay special attention to certain product categories.
Among these are recalled children’s products, particularly cribs and play yards; children’s products that may contain lead, such as children’s jewelry and painted wooden or metal toys; flimsily made toys that are easily breakable into small parts; toys that lack the required age warnings; and dolls and stuffed toys that have buttons, eyes, noses or other small parts that are not securely fastened and could present a choking hazard for young children
see
Object by snailmail:
The Office of the Secretary,
Consumer Product Safety Commission,
Room 502, 4330 East-West Highway,
Bethesda, Maryland 20814 US.
Comments should always be captioned: ‘Section 102 Mandatory Third-Party Testing of Component Parts'
Microbusiness owners should also in addition write to their own congressional representatives and senators to request urgent changes in the CPSIA to save handmade toys and children's products. Use the sample letter
Find your Congressionl representative here and Senator here
More about Handmade toy alliance, Child product safety, Homecrafts, Handmade, Chinese products for