Wednesday, January 7, 2009

CPSIA or : One of the stupidest things the government has done in a long time

Many of my blog readers (all 10 of you, LOL) already know about the impending economic disaster called the CPSIA, doomed to hit America in February, but I am writing about it myself because I am so concerned with it's impact. My friend Cristina has a great post about the impact of this legislation on small business owners which you can read on her blog. She also includes a list of things we can do to protest this legislation so if you haven't checked her post out already, please do so.

Now, I'm concerned about this legislation on a number of scales. Of course I do not care to have lead in my children's toys, but since I rarely bought plastic crap from huge chains anyway I never had all that much to worry about anyway. Still I agree that regulating children's products mass produced in overseas factories is a good thing as I don't want any child to have suffer from lead poisoning. The problem with this regulation though is it is far too broad. As many others have pointed out, it will destroy small businesses and grind production of specialty items for children to a halt. For example, the folks at Boutique Cafe called around and found that testing just one of their custom made shirts would cost them $1,025-$1425. Talk about insanity! The end result will be that big chains and mass producers (from China, where everything with lead content came from originally) will be able to test one of a batch of say 100,000 Dora dolls, and sell them legally, but any small business owner or maker of custom toys, clothes, bedding etc will go out of business. Tell me how this is good for our economy OR our children's health? Because I'm fairly sure it would be easier to slip a bunch of lead infested toys through in a unit of 100, 1000, or 100,000 than a unit of 1.

As scary as all of this is, it gets worse. I was shown a blog post today on C3 about the effect of the CPSIA legislation on libraries. Even if you aren't a librarian, as a tax payer or patron you need to be outraged at the huge costs libraries are going to incure due to this legislation. The costs of children's books (which have to be tested although who ever heard of a kid getting lead poisoning from a book?) will soar astronomically. Libraries won't be able to have book sales to raise funds anymore. They won't be able to have give-aways for summer reading programs, they won't be able to accept donations. They may not even be legally allowed to lend the books they have on their shelves now! Even computers and equipment in the children's area may fall under this regulation and have to be replaced or tested. Considering the absimal state of library funding to begin with, this legislation could very well spell the end of children's libraries (and children's librarians too) as there is no way libraries can cover all of these costs.

Still not scared? Say you don't buy from small businesses and you don't attend libraries. Do you ever had a garage sale or shop at one? Buy or sell something on Craig's List or Ebay? Get your kid's clothes at Mom to Mom sales? Well forget it. Even second hand sales are covered by this legislation which means all of those sales will become illegal without testing of the products. How many stay at home moms, families and internet sellers will lose supplimental income, maybe their only source of income in some cases?

So as you can see, this impact of this legislation is far reaching and utterly terrifying. If you are as scared as I am at this point I highly recommend you take action by taking one of these steps (borrowed from Cristina's blog)

What can you do?
1) Email or call the CPSIA - the office of the CPSC ombudsman 888-531-9070.
http://www.cpsc.gov/cgibin/newleg.aspx
Comments on Component Parts Testing accepted through January 30, 2009.
mailto:Sec102ComponentPartsTesting@cpsc.gov.

2) Email or snail mail your representatives.
http://capwiz.com/americanapparel/issues/alert/?alertid=12274476

3) Call your representatives. For their contact information just enter your zip code.
http://capwiz.com/americanapparel/dbq/officials/

4) Make your voice heard by voting on this issue. The top 3 in each category will be presented to President-elect Obama.
http://www.change.org/ideas/view/save_handmade_toys_from_the_cpsia

5) Sign the petition.
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/economicimpactsofCPSIA/index.html

6) Spread the word! Write about this on your blog. Tell others about this issue and encourage them to do the same.

7) Join others in fighting this cause.
http://cpsia-central.ning.com/notes/Notes_Home

Join the etsy community in the virtual chat with CPSIA Small Business Ombudsmen or send a handmade children’s item that will become “hazardous goods” as of 2/9/09 to Bobby Rush, founder of H.R. 4040.
http://www.etsy.com/storque/craftivism/handmade-childrens-items-unintended-consequences-consumer-pr-3056/

5 comments:

cristina said...

thanks so much for posting this christina. the more consumers who understand what this entails, the better. many fabrics, like cotton, have never had lead in them - yet we will be forced to test, and retest, over and over again. this will affect consumers on all levels. there is a way to protect our children and still have a small business STAY in business - it's called common sense.

Christina said...

And more about the effect of this legislation on bookstores and libraries (even Amazon, gasp!): http://bookshopblog.com/2009/01/04/book-burning-on-feb-10th-2009-due-to-cpsia/

Angela Kasmala said...

Thank YOU for posting this as well. I had know idea about libraries, rummage sales, etc. It really is terrifying and the more people who speak out about it the more power we have to affect change. Thank you for your work!

Jess said...

I still cannot believe how far reaching this legislation is. It's frightening, even though I've written my congressman and signed petitions, I still feel like it isn't enough.

This is just plain craziness!

Mimi aka pz5wjj said...

I agree this is absurd. We've been talking about it in my mom's group. Sounds like they've made some concessions for consignment shops and churches who have consignment sales -- but it is still too far reaching.

I think congress pushed this legislation through in a panic without fully understanding what the impact would be.

With times like they are, more and more people will be buying second hand to make endsmeet and talk about the loss of jobs! More job loss on top of what we have.

I hope this gets overturned and a better written, more thought out law goes into effect.