I Am a Rule Follower

I am a Rule Follower. I think I always have been.

My senior year of high school, a bunch of friends were back from college on winter break and going to go into Boston to the Hard Rock Cafe. I knew my parents would never say yes, so I told them I was going to go down the street to a friend's house for dinner and movies. I went into Boston. I don't think I enjoyed a moment of that night. I spent the whole time worrying that I was going to get hit by a car and my parents' first reaction was going to be "What the hell was she doing in Boston?!!"

Have you heard of the CPSIA? Trying to understand all of the legalese and listening to the panic of the many blogging handcrafters of children's items with a grain of salt, I've boiled it down to this (at least in how it applies to me and eieio):
  • The legislation came out of all of the toy recalls over the last year.
  • The law mandates testing (for lead and phthalates) of all items marketed for children under the age of 12. This includes handmade toys, bibs, blankets, and clothing.
  • It is not enough to have certification that each of the components of an item (in my case the 100% cotton fabric and Made in the USA colored stainless steel snaps) are lead free.
  • For each batch of an item produced, one must be dismantled and all components must be tested by a certified lab. Each individual test costs at least $60. So for one of my dresses using two different patterns of fabric and 4-part colored snaps, it would require 6 tests for a total of at least $360. (My dresses sell for $30) The CPSC has said that XRF (a handheld test that can be done without destroying the product) testing for lead is permissable for now, but rental of such an instrument can be $800/month.
  • As of February 10th, items that have not been submitted for testing and have certification of passing CANNOT BE SOLD.
  • This affects both retailers and manufacturers.
  • This legislation also includes books - think of the effect on the children's sections of our public libraries.
  • The testing is so cost-prohibitive to independent artists and crafters that February 10th has been deemed National Bankruptcy Day.
  • The law that had the best intentions and truly is trying to keep our children safe is eliminating some of our safest alternatives.
Forbes did a good summary here.

The Handmade Toy Alliance started by Dan Marshall from Peapods (one of my all time favorite toy stores!) in St. Paul, MN has lots of great resources.

So what am I going to do?

I am going to follow the rules. This means that after February 9th, I will no longer be selling my handmade children's clothing. I will not close my Etsy shop, in hopes that the legislation is amended soon, and will be sampling some new items with more of a 'home decor for family spaces' focus. And I'll hope that people come to their senses soon...

What can you do? Etsy's CPSIA Action Kit has all the contact info for letting the right people know how you feel.

And please sign these petitions:

And hope that someone is really listening.

Friday night, 9:00pm. They were listening! The CPSC has issued a one year stay of testing and certification requirements for certain products. This stay still upholds important safety requirements while giving the CPSC, congress, and manufacturers some time to sort everything out.

1 comment:

  1. excellent - thank you for posting about this very important issue!!! and thanks for sharing your Boston adventure *chuckles and grins* loved it!!