19 January 2009

save handmade toys and clothes!

This is sad, but true. It will soon be illegal to sell toys and clothes handmade in the US, Canada, or Europe unless they are put through the same rigorous testing that is now required for large-scale manufactured goods from China. In an already hurting economy, this will put many small business owners, work-at-home moms, and crafters out of business.

In an article from TreeHugger:

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), as passed by the US Congress in August, 2008, inadvertently threatens to take many handmade toys and children's clothing items off the market. According to the Handmade Toy Alliance, "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." 'How can this be,' you may be wondering? Look below for details.

According to the Handmade Toy Alliance, cottage industries - among the smallest of small businesses - simply can not afford the hundreds or even thousands of dollars private labs are charging to certify a product, as per requirements of the CPSIA.

Big corporations are directly responsible for causing the lead contamination problem by outsourcing toy and clothing production to China. Paradoxically, now, small US businesses established to serve a market segment which specifically wanted to avoid purchasing lead- contaminated, made-in-China goods is being squeezed out by a rigid and insensible CPSC regulation, which is cost effective only for high-volume manufacturers.

Read the rest.

But you can help!
Sign the petition to save small businesses making handmade goods.

Who will be affected?
A friend of mine recently expressed interest in getting a handmade doll for her niece -- something she knew would be safe. I did a little search on Etsy for dolls and quickly realized that the craftspeople on this wonderful handmade marketplace who make children's goods will be forced to shut down due to the new CPSIA ruling. To bring attention to this new law and perhaps fund the inevitable, many Etsy crafters are putting hefty price tags on otherwise affordable goods to show how much they will have to pay in order to provide the public with "safe" products. Here are some of the handmade products in jeopardy:

CPSIA Special Floral Vine Jumper 12M-4T by starrclothing ($2,980)

CPSIA Blocks- Don't be Owly Baby Blocks
by owlpeople ($6,736.50)

CPSIA SPECIAL Upcycled, handmade and certified lead-free Elsa the Elephant stuffed toy by SnuggleHerd ($900)

JUST ANOTHER CPSIA endangered Specimen - 12 inch CUSTOM MADE WALDORF style DOLL by germandolls (regularly priced at $125)

Related videos
In the news: Will CPSIA put stay at home mom...out of business?

One activist's perspective: CPSC will kill the handmade industry

Just in case you need more persuasion, 101 reasons to buy handmade [via PoppyTalk]

Remember today, the words of MLK:
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

happy MLK jr day!

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

~Martin Luther King, Jr.