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Business News : Handmade Toys Illegal?
Posted by Ralyn on 2009/1/8 15:00:00 (2563 reads) News by the same author

The new children's product lead-testing requirements of HR4040, The 2008 Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act ( CPSIA ) ( Public Law 110-314 , will leave many individual artists and crafters unable to comply, thereby decimating the American hand-made marketplace for yet another product category: HAND-MADE TOYS And since children's toys are one of the few things you can make without lasers, furnaces, production robots, chip foundries, etc. this lost product category will leave many older craftsmen without hope.

While no one can deny the need for safe toys, a protective measure can certainly be taken too far. Most crafters are able to prove the certification of each of their raw supplies or could certainly start doing so. The problem arises when even though all their components are known to be TESTED to be certified safe, the end product also must be TESTED and certified at enormous cost for the crafter. Our average GROSS sales for a professional weekend crafter is only $26,000 per year. If they must pay around $500-$5,000 each year for each of say 5 different toys, it becomes obvious that NO crafter but the most production-line and mass-scale-automated-production ones will be able to compete. This means all the slave labor in China factories are safe in job security, but our to-the-bone slaving parent's self made jobs are done for.

Make no mistake, as the act stands all toys and products for children must be certified. No distinction is made for handmade wooden trucks, cloth dolls, pvc pipe marshmallow guns, wood puzzles , step up stools , burp rags , ribbon ponytails , barrettes , doll clothes , shopping cart covers , baby slings , mop dolls etc. etc. HR 4040 also does not allow for certification of 100% of the used components in hand-made items to automatically validate undeniably safe hand-made products as compliant.

More globally, this law will affect more than just toys. As it is currently written it encompasses jewelry, clothing, room decor, SCHOOL SUPPLIES, EDUCATIONAL AIDS, art work, ART SUPPLIES, pillows, linens, furniture, so on & etc. if it is made for or looks like it's for someone 12 & under to use it will be subject to the certified testing. Even HAND-ME-DOWNS & vintage items as resales or trades, think flea market, swap meets, yard/garage sales, eBay & Craigslist, will be subject to the testing. There was even an article in the LA Times on Jan 2 indicating that thrift stores would be junked: "They'll all have to go to the landfill," said Adele Meyer, executive director of the National Assn. of Resale and Thrift Shops.

Crafters are asking for a distinction to be made for US hand-made toys such that crafters and artists can verify compliance of their final product via documentation of all raw supplies having been tested and certified as toxic free.

This law must be revised to specifically address and allow for the legal hand-made production of one-of-a-kind toys and other children's products without expensive testing where it is unwarranted.

The long and short of the matter at hand is that Mattel and other LARGER toy manufactures outsourced to China and DANGEROUS garbage came back. NOW, the small US toy makers must submit to laws that no mom-and-pop shop should ever be expected to nor will ever be able to. RATHER than reducing outsourcing, which will always endanger us with inferior and toxic products, our 'leaders' have signed into law legislation that only outlaws 2 hazardous substances and legislates unnecessary labeling and documentation on costly testing for these 2 substances while ignoring thousands of other dangerous chemical compounds and entirely ignoring other aspects of child-toy safety.

The VERY businesses that produced toys with toxic compounds, like Mattel, will be able to do costly tests (for probably only the 2 legislated dangerous compounds, while they cut costs in other areas with new hazards) on their limited product lines to certify them for sale and consumption, while small-scale production hand-made US crafters who have not been cited with adding toxic compounds to toys will go out of business. Get it? The ones responsible for proven negligently dangerous, foreign manufactured toys will stay in business. US makers of SAFE hand-made, NATURAL toys will PERISH. - FOREVER - !

The CPSIA was supported by major toy manufactures and major outlet stores and their associations. It is no wonder, as they stand to benefit in every way. Yet another micro-industry will be beyond the means of every-day people when it becomes a felony to do something as simple sell a wooden toy you hand-made from wood grown on your own property.

Please contact me if I can help you!

Louis Marquette

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