Sunday, December 14, 2008

New Consumer Product Safety Law - The End of Bare Bottoms Boutique?

For those who don't already know there is a new law going into effect on February 10, 2009. The law is known as the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) and it requires all products intended for children under the age of 12 to be tested for lead and phthalates by an approved third party lab. Not only must the raw materials used to make the products be tested, but also all components of a finished product must be tested as well. And all variations of that product must also be tested. From what I understand the testing can run anywhere from $100-$500 per test and there aren't anywhere near enough approved labs to handle the volume of testing that this law requires. So, what does all this mean? means a lot of small businesses like mine will be shutting down. There is no exclusion for small manufacturers or people who work out of their homes. For those people who make small batches of a certain product or who make one-of-a-kind items, it just is not financially feasible to comply with these testing standards. For instance, basically each one of my diapers would need to be tested unless I were to make every single one of them exactly the same. If I use a different color fabric, a different color snap, or anything of the sort, it would need to be retested. Spending hundreds of dollars to test a diaper that retails for $15 is just not feasible. So, small manufacturers like myself have other choice than to go out of business...well, unless you choose not to comply with the law. But, penalties are $100,000 per violation so I don't know many small manufacturers who would risk it for that much. Even big companies are in a panic about this law. This law WILL have grave consequences. Thousands of small mom-and-pop shops will be put out of business. And for those who do survive...lets face it - someone is going to have to pick up the expense of all this testing and more than likely it will be the consumer. So, children's products will be more expensive and harder to find. Now, don't get me wrong - I'm all about safety when it comes to children's products. I don't want my children's products to contain unsafe levels of lead and/or phthalates. But, fabric and clothing (unless painted on or embellished) pose very little risk of containing dangerous lead levels. The law needs to be targeted at items that actually pose a threat of containing lead and phthalates. And the testing needs to be less expensive and more accessible so that so that so many people aren't put out of business by this law. And is it really necessary to have the raw materials AND the finished products tested? Think about more WAHM cloth diapers, OOAK clothing, wooden toys, makes me sad. I have written my Senators and Congressmen and would urge everyone else to do the same. There is also a petition that you can sign. We need to flood Congress with communication and get them to realize the ramifications of this law for small business people. I applaud their attempts to make products safer for our children, but this law is too vague and not targeted where it should be. Here are some links:
House of Representatives:
Petition - PLEASE at least sign this petition!

No comments: