An icky, sick to my stomach feeling (CPSIA legislation)

This letter is in response to a piece of legislation that will go into effect as of February 12, 2009, and will seriously affect all small businesses, and customers of small businesses. If you truly value the ability to shop locally, shop small, and buy unique, handmade, handcrafted, or mama-made products for your kids, you should be up in arms about this. I urge you to write to your legislators about this. Please feel free to alter this letter to your personal needs and be sure to send a snail mail copy. You can see how your Senators voted on this bill here. This is very real, and could rather lead to a National Bankruptcy Day. As if the economy needs more trouble. I’m all for eliminating lead in childrens’ toys, but for God’s sake, this is a ridiculous piece of legislation that was poorly thought out and hastily passed. For more information, and a whole lot of legalese about this, you can see the info page from the CPSC.

Also, to those of you with blogs, facebook, myspace, twitter, etc, please forward this along. I urge you to help me keep small businesses (including such fun things like Etsy artists, afloat).

To my Senators, and beyond.

I writing to you to express my deep concern for the impending enforcement of the new Consumer Product Safety Commission Improvement Act. While I realize that product safety, especially for children, is of utmost importance, this particular legislation is reactionary and holds potentially devastating economic ramifications.

I personally operate a very small business selling baby carriers and other baby accessories – some made by American companies and some imported from Europe. Under these new regulations, small manufacturers (and crafters who sell as a side business) would be required to submit each piece or lot to prohibitively expensive government approved third party testing. From what I understand, each test would cost anywhere from $100-400, for each COMPONENT of the of the carrier, doll, clothing, cloth diaper, etc.. That’s a test for thread, buttons and each fabric. Considering the fact that each piece is made from completely different fabrics, it would effectively eliminate the ability of small manufacturers, and those trying to make a little extra money for their families, to do business legally in the US.

I have read the CPSIA and there is no exception for quantities made, where the garments/products are made or anything else. To me, this means that grandma selling handmade baby blankets at the church bazaar is selling contraband if she is unable to produce the required safety certificate. It means that for artisans and small business in America one thing… unless you are a multi-million dollar company, you have no right doing business in the U.S. So much for the American dream.

February 10, 2009 is being dubbed “National Bankruptcy Day” by many experts in the apparel and toy industry. I expect that if this legislation is allowed to be enacted, it will affect everyone from port workers to parents looking for legal products. Millions of pieces of merchandise will be destroyed because it can’t be legally sold, causing not only environmental problems, but impacting charities that can’t accept donations without a safety certificate.

As you can see, this legislation is dangerous. I imagine that it was originally written with good intention. However, I can only hope that you will take action in defense of hard working American business owners and help us continue our ethical practices of making safe products. Please help to defend entreprenurial America!

Sincerely,
Katy Afruma
REgarding Peanut

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