Thursday, January 13, 2011

Support Handmade and Small Businesses by contacting your congressman regarding the CPSIA!

You might have heard about the CPSIA and how it's affecting small and handmade businesses everywhere.  But you may not know why it is or what it is.

The CPSIA is the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.  It was designed to help protect children from harmful toxins and chemicals in cheaply made foreign toys that were being imported to the US by requiring expensive third party testing to be performed on each any every component used in the production of said toys.  Although a good idea in theory, the rules and regulations of the CPSIA ended up encompassing more than just foreign made toys.  It ended up requiring that all manufacturers of toys, clothes, cloth diapers, etc. to be used by any child under the age of 12 also be required to pay for this testing regardless of their history or track record having been providing quality, safe, handmade goods.  The cost of this testing would shut down, and has already shut down, many small businesses.

Now the race is on to have the CPSIA amended and reformed.  Small business owners and handcrafters need your support.  Help save not only small cloth diaper manufacturers, but many other wahm and family run businesses by printing the letter below and sending it to your local congressperson so that they might take notice.

In support of Small Businesses please use the sample letter below and send to your congressman letting them know how important this issue is and how it will further affect our economy and the livelihood of many small family run businesses.

Sample Letter

From:  [your name and address]

To: [your congress person or senator]

Re: The Consumer Product Improvement Act (CPSIA) will result in a drastic deepening of the economic crisis even more

Dear  [your congress person or senator],
The economic crisis in our country is distressing to millions of Americans. That is why it concerns me that under the CPSIA, many small business owners will be driven out of business, deepening the crisis.  The premise of self reliance and entrepreneurship on which this country was founded is in jeopardy.
Like many people, I was deeply concerned by the dangerous and poisonous toys that large Chinese toy manufacturers have been selling to our families.  And, I was 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 businesses whose safety record has always been exemplary. It will devastate small manufacturers and home businesses who create children's products such as clothes, handmade goods and toys for children, beautiful Native American artifacts, children's books, adaptive products for children with disabilities, and classroom and homeschool materials. These small businesses simply cannot afford the $300-$4,000 price tag per product that Third Party testers are charging.

With the economic crisis we find ourselves in, fewer families will be able to afford the higher costs of the goods that remain available. Any company that is able to remain in business will undoubtedly raise prices due to increased compliance costs. Everyone will have to pay more for the remaining available goods, deepening the effects of the economic crisis for millions of families.

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 rulemaking process.  These include exempting books and uncoated fabrics from testing and allowing manufacturers to rely upon testing done by their materials suppliers instead of paying for redundant unit-based testing.  I would also like to see an exemption to third party testing requirements for micro-businesses similar to the exemptions granted by the FDA for small producers under the food labeling laws. As the Wall Street Journal wrote, "The Commission needs to implement the rules without putting more companies out of business in an already tenuous economy."
These toy makers, crafters, publishers and small home based businesses have earned and kept the public's trust.  They provide jobs for thousands and quality playthings and educational products for hundreds of thousands.  Their unique businesses should be protected. Please visit to learn more about this issue.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.


[your name] 

*Much thanks to KT Steppers on FaceBook for providing this form letter. Please also repost the content of this post on your blog, tweet about it, post a link to it on facebook, etc.  We need your help spreading the word.

For more information on the CPSIA please visit this page located at The Handmade Toy Alliance website.


Timmi said...

I've already written a few of these for my mom but I'll write some more always glad to help the little guy!

Kristin said...

I actually think this is a good thing. However, I think that the suppliers should be the ones doing the testing. If all the materials in the end product have been tested, there is no reason to test the end product.

Many of the WAHM's buy fabrics that have already been tested rather than testing their hand made goods. If you're a WAHM, ask your supplier for a certificate, you should have it in your files for future reference.

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