This is really important. No, this is not a hoax; I have researched the dickens out of this, and as you can read in the sources below it is true ... and frightening. New legislation is slated to take effect in February that will dangerously affect all small businesses in this country that make and/or sell handmade toys, children's clothing, blankets, cloth diapers, and more. It will even have an impact on any of you that prefer to buy handmade items and support craftspeople - simply because those items will mostly no longer be available. I heard someone from the ACLU on NPR this morning (talking about a different topic -- homeland security) and he said something like "The biggest threat to Americans is Congress" They like to do things that make it look like they are concerned for our safety, but it's all for show and has disastrous consequences. I am fairly certain that a pig flew by my window because I whole-heartedly agree with him - and there isn't much that comes from the ACLU that doesn't make me want to vomit.
As of February 10, 2009, ALL items sold in the United States that are meant for children 12 years and younger will be required to have third-party lead testing done by the manufacturer. This sounds great in theory, since we all want to protect our children. This law will only force small businesses to close (or operate illegally), when the problem lies with large companies making cheap items in foreign countries.
DO YOU BUY THESE ITEMS, OR VALUE THE ABILITY TO BUY THEM?
Then you need to e-mail or write your representatives today. If this legislation is not changed to offer some sort of clarification regarding handcrafting businesses in the US, then many if not most of the items I've discussed will no longer be available. No more wood cars crafted by a retired grandpa; no more children's handmade clothing and cloth diapers on Hyena Cart; not to mention Etsy and other sites that encourage us to buy handmade. I don't know if you feel the same way, but if I had to choose between a handmade item made by a work-at-home mom versus a "certified lead-free" item made in China and sold at Target, I'd choose the former.
DO YOU MAKE OR SELL THESE ITEMS?
If you own a small home-based business crafting these items, these requirements fall on YOU. You will be required to test each and every component of your items for sale, and label them with a batch number and date of manufacture. This includes thread, buttons, fabric, etc. If you do not comply, you will be in violation of federal law and could be subject to fines up to $100,000 PER ITEM - and even jail time. Any children's items made before this date that are not tested and certified lead-free are considered banned hazardous waste and cannot be sold after February 10, 2009. Even if you use materials such as fabric that were tested by their manufacturer not to contain lead, you must still have third-party testing done. This is obviously not an option for most artisan businesses!
Please call or write your representatives regarding the new CPSIA legislation *that has already passed* and will be put into effect in February without any thought for the 'little guys'.
We must act soon and get some changes made, or February 10 could mean the end of the "Buy Handmade" movement! Stand up for small businesses everywhere as this legislation affects each and every one of us, our businesses, our children and even our economy. Let your representatives know that as much as we value keeping our children safe by testing items for lead, this is the WRONG way to accomplish that.
I encourage you to read over the links below.
Contact your local representative via this link:
You can read more about the CPSIA legislation at: