Saturday, January 24, 2009

Thoughts on the CPSIA laws in the USA

What is the CPSIA you ask? The Consumer Product Saftey Improvement Act, which is going to be put into effect on Feburary 10th in the USA.

The new law simply states that you cannot MAKE or SELL anything that has not been 3rd party tested for lead and phthalates meant for anyone under the age of 12 years old. This is for anything from pacifiers to handmade clothing.

Apparently there have been some very narrow adjustments to the law for Ebay and Etsy sellers, but originally under the law, not even grannies who want to make booties for their newborn grandkids would not be able to make or even give as gifts their handmade treasures. Heirlooms would also be under scruitiny of this new law.

The lead testing by said third parties would cost rediculous amounts of cash. In one of the articles it said for something as simple as a kids microscope, the company that made it would have to pay upwards of $10,000 to get them tested.

Someone from Threadbanger's forums posted this link for their research on what the costs would be at each individual testing centre

http://www.happypandababy.com/blog/2008/12/16/cpsia-testing-research-for-happy-panda/

The prices for testing are absolutely rediculous! $650 for a onesie....$700 for a bib! Mind you, that was the first place she looked at.

The sad thing is, not all the 'certified testing facilities' test metals or for phthalates.

The article on this website http://www.thesmartmama.com/bg/ had asked and recieved some answers to vital questions crafters have been asking.

One of the key answers to one of the questions that defines 'manufacturer' is this :
If you buy fabric from a craft store and sew it to make a dress you then sell, you are the manufacturer. So in other words, if you sell it on Ebay or Etsy, or plan on giving it away as a gift...then yes, you have to get it tested for lead.

The CPSIA is contemplating on exempting natural fibres and materials that havent been altered in any way shape or form....so in other words, undyed unbleached right of the sheep wool, freshly cut wood that hasnt been sealed with any sort of wax or paint and so on and so forth. Most of these would still apply because most of us know sheepswool usually goes through a chemical bath to get rid of all the crap that is in fleece before selling it to the consumer or manufacturers, who then dye it , spin it, then sell it back to the public. Even certian semi precious stones would be under scruitiny and become scares, cause even though they are a natural raw material, they are put through buffers and grinders to give it a nice shine, and yes, even natural stones have some lead content....ie leaded crystal

So, even if you buy wool that is unbleached, not stuffed in a chemical bath and is right off the sheep, spin it, and dye it yourself....you have to test it for lead before selling your wool to the public cause it just might be used to make socks for your kids at home.

Everything from the thread that is used to sew an article, to every single button, metal fastener, silk screen printing ink, and rhinestones all have to be tested.

Anything the small businesses cant afford to get tested, cant even give the items away and have to be sent to landfills as 'hazerdous materials'.

from an economic standpoint, from the article from http://nationalbankruptcyday.com/

The cut to the chase summary shows over 70 million dollars worth of inventory must be destroyed on February 10, 2009 and of those enterprises that expect to survive the fall-out (61% will not), over 40 million dollars in lost product sales are anticipated.

It also means, vital science equipment for kids to use will no longer be able to be sold, or used at schools. As an example on the same website, a 10 cent lightbulb for microscopes will no longer be able to be sold because they are used in schools across the country, and used by kids under 12 for their science experiments....because of the lead solder that is used on the lightbulb in its manufacturing. Same thing with certian parts of computers, telescopes, even books.

I even remember reading an article on the news that libraries will have to close, or they will have to dispose of massive quantities of books because the covers might contain lead paint, and they cant afford to test every single book in the library....either that or ban children altogether.

Ouch!

So why am I writing this journal posting if I live in Canada?

For those crafters who didn't know about the law, more specifically friends that I have that live in the states, or plan on shipping items for kids to the states. Simply for education sakes for now. Keep in mind this will also affect us up here too. The people in the states who make some of the crafts that I like to do, that are originally meant for kids, are going to become short supply for a while I think, cause they wont be able to ship it up here without some sort of seal of approval.

This also means that alot of prices, even for basic things that I enjoy like quilt fabric, wool, paint, paper, and knitting supplies are going to go up in price because the manufacturers have to cover their costs of testing supplies.

This also means anyone who is a mom is gonna get seriously pissed off by this(I have several friends who have kids under 12). That means the price for all their clothes, toys, backpacks, lunchboxes, cribs, diapers even.....will all go up in price due to the costs of getting their items shipped to the testing facilities.....and the costs of the tests themselves...then the shipping back of said item to get the results.

Which also means, many businesses and home-run businesses that sell over the internet or sell to the states will also loose money big time, cause they have to get their stuff tested before crossing the border with their goods. Which means, in the long run, this will also seriously harm our economy.

Now keep in mind, President Obama has said to put a freeze on all new bills that were supposed to be passed by the Bush administration, but this one has already been passed...but thats not to say that the public isnt going to make a big stink the closer it gets to the deadline, and the new Obama administration will take a look at this law. Also, the National Association of Manufacturers is also making their move against the CPSIA, and Im almost positive they will bring it to congress' attention.

Also keep in mind, this is alot of 3rd party info from small mom and pop shop crafters, to small business owners who may not entirely understand all the legal jargon of the law, unless they had their own lawyer go over the law with a fine toothed comb and translated it for us in plain english that most of us understand. It could very well be nothing anyone other than Mattel, Hasbro or Wal-Mart needs to worry about.

So...Im not worried just yet....just amazed at how a bill like this could get passed in the first place.

Im sure there are other laws that protect us here in Canada from the lead content. This debacle has been going on for a long time....ever since I took up wire jewelry making about 5-6 years ago, and Im sure its been going on long before that.

With certain plastics, yes I can understand the concern, but with fabric, fiber, and wool....grannies have been making items this way for centuries, and I dont think i have ever heard of a kid dying from lead poisoning from a non buttoned up wool pullover. Dont get me wrong...Im all for kids being safe, and not getting poisoned by chewing on a tickle-me-elmo or a barbie....but I think this law is a little excessive, and seriously needs some review.

I guess we will have to wait and see how this unfolds, and hopefully the US government will make some form of cheap lead and phthalates testing device that can be used by anyone, without having to pay hundreds of dollars for a single article of clothing to get tested.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Good grief.....how can you compare a nanna sewing something for a baby, with the factories in China churning out toys by the thousands? Let's hope commonsense prevails.

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