In a nutshell, if I can.
Last year Congress passed the Consumer Products Safety Improvement
Act. At the time I cheered their decision, after all who wants tainted
lead toys flooding our markets? However, as they time has come to
implement this new law, it appears that there is some serious
misunderstanding going on.
As of February 2009, all products intended for use by children must
have been tested for lead. This includes products like wraps, where
the fabric is extremely unlikely to contain any lead, and if it does,
it would certainly be well under the limit. Nevertheless, each
different colorway must be tested by the manufacturer, and/or the
importer and/or the retailer, at a cost of $150-$500 per test. This
also includes handmade wooden toys with only a pinpoint of paint for
the two eyes. It doesn't matter if you know that the paints you use
are lead free. You must have the test results on file from a
government approved to lab to prove it. There are no exclusions as of
yet. The law states that there can be exclusions, but since they have
not been established, everyone who does not have the test results on
file will be non-compliant come February. Non-compliance can have
penalties of up to $100,000 per incident and felony jail time.
Not only is the testing ridiculously expensive, and required even in
cases where common sense would say otherwise, but the labs are too
few, and too full, and cannot possibly meet the demand between now and
February. (That is the situation we are in. We have already had our
rings tested due to European standards, but those test results don't
count because they were not done by the approved labs.)
If we do not make a HUGE uproar, then starting in February you will
not be able to buy WAHM diapers, WAHM baby carriers, handmade wooden
toys, homeschool supplies, cute Etsy clothes, or anything else made by
a micro business (soft star shoes, etc). Well, I suspect that a black
market will spring up, but everyone will be in serious danger should
they be found out.
Please, join the facebook groups, sign the petitions on ipetition,
write to your congress people. I absolutely want them to do something
about lead in toys and dishes and other dangerous children's products,
but they have got to find a way to do it that does not put responsible
small businesses under, further endangering our economy.
Please let me know if you need more info.
For more info:
Look, I love a deal. I really do. But, I also love the opportunity to buy handmade products (see I get deals on lot of stuff so I can spend the money on boutique type items.) I also have a business that will no longer exist if this happens, so I worry there too.
For those of you who make little blankies, bibs, diapers, etc... Sell fabric, patterns... it will affect you too. Please let your voice be heard.
Here is what I am telling local news outlets:
My name is Kimber Tower. I am the owner of Ball Baby Carriers LLC in Rigby Idaho. Some of you have interviewed me before, some have not.
I wanted to pass along some information that is currently spelling disaster for my business and every small business in the US that makes children's products. I have attached many links with more information for you in the interest of not writing a novel.
Long story short for me as a baby carrier business: I will have to test every fabric I use to make carriers, every thread, tag... essentially anything I use to make a baby carrier; for lead. This will cost me about $100-$500 per item. I use over 100 different fabrics and threads, so you can see how expensive that would be. If I don't comply I could face fines of up to $100,000 and felony jail time. This will include my current inventory, so unless I liquidate before February 10, 2009 I will either be selling contraband or I will have to sit on all that merchandise. Either way, I will be out of business.
Many are calling this "National Bankruptcy Day" and for good reason. This won't just affect me. This will affect small businesses who sell on ebay, etsy... the grannys at you local craft fairs, boutiques, fabric stores... the list goes on. And for the buyers, they will no longer be able to get darling hand created items that support their small local businesses. Some popular products in you local baby stores include: Cloth diapers, baby carriers, babylegs, hats, bows, blankets, diaper bags, etc.
Please, please look into this and how this will hurt our local economy. People need to be aware of what will happen if changes aren't made.
I am happy to talk to anyone further about this, but I will tell you honestly, I am not an expert on it yet.