CPSIA: how you can help.

This week, bloggers across the nation are taking to their keyboards to raise awareness of the mess that is the current Consumer Product Safety legislation regarding children’s products, and I’m joining them. Monday, I started with an overview of the situation and an introduction to the Handmade Toy Alliance. Tuesday, I discussed the outrage that is Mattel getting a free ride out of the legislation. Yesterday we went over how this legislation is affecting the supply of secondhand toys.
All in all, it’s been a pretty frustrating week, eh? Well today I want to talk about what you can do to help the situation.

First, visit the Handmade Toy Alliance for up-to-date information on this legislation.

Currently, “the CPSC has indicated that they are unable to fix the unintended consequences of the CPSIA without a technical amendment from Congress.” An amendment has been proposed, but while it sets out to remedy some ills, it falls far short of the scope of reforms needed.

Two of the most important items, allowing component testing and elimination of labeling requirements for small-batch toys are still up in the air, with no word coming to those who are about to be faced with a very ugly deadline for compliance. There is a whole list of other important amendments needed here, which you can read and then get on the phone to request change:
via the HTA Call to Action:
We need to tell our representatives today that it is time to take a stand, and show their commitment to keeping our businesses alive. We at the Handmade Toy Alliance urge you to call your representative in the House Commerce Committee and ask for the CPSIA draft bill to go to markup and become open for discussion. We have been told time and time again, that we must call, call, and call if we are to be heard. The combined power of our voices is what it will take to keep small batch children’s products from becoming a distant memory in America. Please help! Contact the Minority side at 202-225-3641, and Majority side at 202-225-2927. You are likely to get an answering machine. Leave your name, city, state, House Representatives name and share that they must work together openly in committee to bring about an amendment to the CPSIA now.

After you’ve read up and made some noise, the next thing you can do is support the very people who’ve been bringing you safe, nontoxic toys all along, your local indie business and small-batch crafter.
The really great thing about a small business, especially a local one, is that if you have any questions at all about the safety of a product they create, you can ASK THEM. If you don’t like a component they are using you can request they make an item for you from different parts.
choco bun 8
I do this all the time with my softies: If the toy is for an older child, the eyes can be sewn on buttons. If it’s going to a younger child, I can use plastic safety eyes or simply sew eyes on from felt – no small parts used!

Check out these other awesome Handmade Toy Alliance sellers and their stories:

Jennifer Murphy Bears: Jennifer handmakes bears and other lovely creatures in batches of no more than 5. Can you imagine having to destroy one of each batch of these incredibly sweet creatures for testing? Can you imagine the added costs?

Or how about Tomo and Edie, an absolutely amazing children’s clothing and accessory shop:

Without component testing, each slightly-different clip would have to be tested for lead. Wouldn’t it be easier for the manufacturer of the clip to do the tests and certify the product once?

Is there a store like Peapods in your neighborhood? If the CPSIA is not amended, there may never be…
Peapods is a mother-owned family store in St. Paul, MN offering wood toys, baby slings, cloth diapers, music and books. We believe in the value of a strong bond between children and their parents and toys that play in harmony with the natural world.
Our products are made of only natural materials–cotton, wool, silk, and wood. No plastic, batteries, petroleum byproducts, or cartoon characters. We strive to purchase our other products from other small, family-based businesses.

These are just a few of the amazing businesses that would face severe hardships, possibly even bankruptcy if this horrible legislation is not properly amended. Please, help save Handmade.


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