Some of you may not be aware of all that is taking place currently within our governmental system in regards to legislation in process that may very likely shut down those of us who own small businesses that sell or manufacture items used by children ages 12 and under.
In a nutshell: most of you remember the concerns that were raised when in 2007, many children's toys and other products were recalled due to high levels of lead, said items having been manufactured in mass quantities in China, and sold to us by large companies here in the US who had outsourced their production of these childrens items. Rightly so, Americans were outraged, and the US Congress stepped in to protect us.
This from www.change.org, "they [the US Congress] passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in August 2008. Among other things, the CPSIA bans lead and phthalates in children's products, mandates third party testing and certification, and requires manufacturers of all goods for children under the age of 12, to permanently label each item with a date and batch number." (Italics mine).
While this appears to be a great step taken to protect American children from tainted products, there are myriad problems with the legislation and the way it currently is written.
Again, from www.change.org: "All of these changes will be fairly easy for large, multinational companies to comply with. Large manufacturers who make thousands of units of each item have very little incremental cost to pay for testing and updating their systems to include batch labels. Small businesses however, will likely be driven out of business by the costs of mandatory testing, to the tune of as much as $4,000 or more per item. And the few larger manufacturers who still employ workers in the United States face increased costs to comply with the CPSIA, even though American-made toys had nothing to do with the toy safety problems of 2007.
Anyone who produces or sells any of the following new or used items will be required to comply with the law: toys, books, clothing, art, educational supplies, materials for the learning disabled, bicycles, and more. Any uncertified item intended for children under the age of 12 will be considered contraband after February 10, 2009. It will be illegal to sell or give these items away to charities, and the government will require their destruction or permanent disposal, resulting in millions of tons of unnecessary waste, and placing an enormous strain on our landfills.
There is a clear disconnect between the sweeping nature of this law, and the narrow range of products that were problematic in 2007. The CPSIA applies standards that were put in place in reaction to the sale of toys contaminated with lead paint and toxic plastics. Rather than focus on these materials, this law places a guilty until proven innocent mentality on all children's product producers by imposing mandatory testing and certification, and in the process will kill an entire industry."
This law, if enacted as currently written, will close down thousands of small businesses, including mine. In these economically difficult times, this will only serve to increase the hardships families are suffering from and increase the jobless rate. I encourage you to contact your senators and congress-people to implore them to provide exemptions for those of us whose products in no way violate these laws or impose and danger to our children.
FYI-- the fabrics that I currently use to craft the beautiful baby carriers available on my website, www.babysosmart.com, are already safe-- the levels of possible contaminants are well-under what the government is deeming acceptable and safe with these laws. However, if I continued to function and manufacture and sell baby carriers after February 10th, the government would state that I am violating the law by producing and selling "hazardous materials", which is NOT true, and I could potentially be fined up to $5 million and face jail time.
Please, please take the time to read the full explanation of all that will happen to America on February 10, 2009 by going to www.change.org, and then also contact those indivual senators and congress people who can grant us exemptions.
Thank you so much for reading this.