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US congressman Weiner slams child-product safety law

By Adriana Stuijt     Jan 8, 2009 in Business
US congressman Anthony Weiner of New York's ninth district warns today that millions of dollars of safe US-made children's clothing and toys will go unsold because of the new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, effective from February 20.
Weiner writes in an urgent letter to the Consumer Product Safety Commission's Nancy Ward that the law impacts unfairly on the millions of US microbusinesses and homecrafters in the US who manufacture child product's safely. They will be the hardest-hit by the CPSIA he says, urging the SPSC to also urgently clarify the present 'intolerable confusion' about the interpretation of the law by local manufacturers because the law has not been properly clarified. Senator Patrick Leahy of VT has also contacted the SPSC about his concerns.
For details see our latest report here
Also see my personal blog on this subject here
Open Forum Jan 14 House Small Business Committee, Washington 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.
The new CPSIA law -- widely praised for its underlying intention to protect American children from poisonous products from abroad, especially mainland China – also 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
Weiner warns that 'confusion reigns about this law, which is not clearly defined. "
"The manufacturers of childen's products are therefore interpreting it in their own way because they are getting no guidance on it.
"As a result of the retroactive application, many of my constituents are now forced to prove that the clothing they made months ago, which is safe and presents no hazard to children, is compliant with new regulations.
Even a plain white tee shirt"
Even a plain white tee shirt would have to somehow be removed from shelves, individually tested and replaced. This decision would mean that millions of dollars of safe clothing and toys will not be able to be sold, and the companies that own that inventory will bear huge costs."
He also worried that the SPSC has thus far been unable to issue final regulations to help his constituents understand how these new regulations are to be implemented.
"For example, we know that fabrics and yarns are inherently lead-free. Yet, no rules have been issued that would clarify that such components are exempt from testing.'
The 'confusion' around this law also encouraged many retailers 'to develop their own rules interpreting these provisions'. The lack of guidance, he warned, 'is creating a confusion situation that is intolerable'.
He fears that many companies will have to bear the costs of a product safety system 'that is not leading to improvements in children's safety or holding any gains for public health.'
This is particularly difficult for small businesses, he warned. "This legislation unfairly impacts many small, family-owned businesses at a time when our entire economy is struggling'.
More about Child product safety, Cpsia, Children toys, Handmade clothes, Microbusiness face bankruptcy