CPSIA - A Rant About A Good Idea Gone Wrong
I don't rant very often, but the new CPSIA law which takes affect on February 10th is enough for me to make an exception. The official name is the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, but I remember the acronym by (pardon my French): Cr*p, Politicians Scr*wed It Again.
The law was a response to the recall of toys imported from China because of lead contamination about a year ago, but it has been carried to extremes that threaten not only charity knitting for children like our K4 group does, but the livelihood of crafters across the country. The law requires testing of any item intended for children 12 & under to ascertain that it is lead free. But, instead of requiring the raw materials - yarn, fabrics, & buttons - to be tested and certified as safe before being offered for sale here in the United States, the law demands component testing of the completed item. This means that two different sized sweaters, even made from the same brand & dye lot of yarn, would have to be tested separately. For now, XLP (X-ray testing) is adequate to meet the requirements, but starting in August a third party test that consists of destroying the item will be necessary.
Testing isn't cheap. A number of Etsy sellers have repriced children's items to reflect the cost of the testing. How many people will buy a child's patchwork skirt or toy when the price is over $1000 because of the cost of testing that skirt or toy to comply with this law? There is no possible way that those of us who knit for charity can continue to make items for children as the penalty for distributing any item meant for children without a testing certificate can reach as high as $100,000 & jail time.
I've called my Senators and asked for help - the CPSIA needs to be amended to allow for component testing by manufacturers rather than requiring each craftsperson or charity to test the completed item. Also, the implementation needs to be delayed until the CPSC has time to finish regulations - as of now, those decisions on how the law will be applied won't be available until after February 10th when the law goes into effect.
Please join in and let the politicians know that this law was passed without any thought of the devastation it will visit on those who make their living or augment their income by crafting safe products for kids. The following links will provide more information.
Forbes "Scrap the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, Part 1; Part 2; & Part 3
National Bankruptcy Day - February 10, 2009
Discussion of the CPSIA on President Obama's Change.org site Save small business from the CPSIA made it into the top ten action items.
Many more links at Overlawyered