Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Follow-Up: A Thing We Can Do

Blogging mama Dawn of Alex, Year Two has a letter template for writing to lawmakers about the Consumer Product Improvement Act (CPSIA)to Save Handmade! I'll republish here,because I think she re-posted it too- from Cool Mom Picks. I found her post at Schmutzie's weekly self-love link round-up Intrepid Tuesday. I'm there too, by the way, all oozing intrepidness. I will probably edit my letter before I send it to my representatives, add the concerns about resale. Thanks to Dawn for sharing the idea and raising awareness.

From: [your name and address]

To: [your congress person or senator]

Re: Changes needed to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) to Save Handmade Toys in the USA

Dear [your congress person or senator],

The goal of this letter is to ask you to request the Consumer Product Safety Commission to make some very reasonable exclusions in their interpretation of the law as they continue their rule making process.

Like many people, I am concerned about the dangerous and poisonous toys that large toy manufacturers have been selling to our nation’s families. I am pleased that Congress acted quickly to protect America’s children by enacting the CPSIA.

However, I am very concerned that the CPSIA’s mandates for third party testing and labeling will have a dramatic and negative effect on small toy makers in the USA, Canada, and Europe, whose toy safety record has always been exemplary. It will also devastate small manufacturers of children's clothes and other handmade goods for children.

Because of the fees charged by third party testing companies, many manufacturers, especially makers of beautiful wooden toys and unique children’s clothes across the nation will be driven out of business. Their cottage workshops simply do not make enough money to afford a potential $4,000 price tag per toy that third party testers are charging. A toy with a wholesale price of $10 would have to sell 400 units just to cover the price of testing.

In the current economic climate, I chose to spend my Christmas present budget at the smaller online stores Good for the Kids (www.goodforthekids.com) and KangarooBoo (www.kangarooboo.com). I like their products, appreciate the exemplary customer service and feel better about supporting a small business over a large corporation who would not notice my $50 purchase. [I'll edit that out, change it to Etsy/secondhand purchases.]

I urge you to quickly request the Consumer Product Safety Commission to make some very reasonable exclusions in their interpretation of the law as they continue their rule-making process.

For example:
Rational exclusions from lead testing of materials including wood, paper, cotton, and other materials known by science to not contain lead.
The CPSC should recognize that the concept of batches does not pertain to small manufacturers or certain industries such as clothing in the same way that it does with large toy manufacturers and should provide exemptions to batch labeling based upon the production modes of each manufacturer.
There should be mechanisms put in place to protect or provide relief for micro-businesses. The model the FDA uses (http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/sbnle.html) to exempt small producers from food labeling requirements is a model to guide this relief.

These toy makers and crafters have earned and kept the public’s trust. They provide jobs for hundreds and quality items for thousands. Their unique businesses should be protected. Please visit www.handmadetoyalliance.org to learn more about this issue and see the attached Petition to the CPSC from the National Association of Manufacturers.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

[your name]

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