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Long Arm of the Law- The Fight to Revise the CPSIA

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Man, oh man...when I was young I always wondered why folks grumbled about the law & politics & government. Now I know. I think my first realization that the "gov'ment" actually did something (I mean when you're young, it just seems so remote, far away, & hollywood-ish) was when No Child Left Behind was passed my second year of teaching- it became clear that with a sweep of a signature all hell could break loose.

That was the first time I became enraged at legislation (except of course, curfew- which always seemed lame). Here's the second- CPSIA.

This new law, which takes effect Feb 10th, bans lead & phtalates in children's items. Sounds honest enough right? However....it is so broadly written that it includes not only toys, but any item deemed likely to be used by a child under 12. This means anything- bikes, books, resale items, and yes, sadly- handmade items.

After working so hard this past year in building Quiltish, pouring in my time & money & creativity in effort to make something from my very own hands to help benefit our family... this new law threatens to take a big chunk of that away. I am still in the process of developing a plan to test, introduce a new line, focus only on bags, wait it out...etc. But, I think an important factor in all this is just how much money & trade will be lost amongst small fries like me and how much will be gained by the big-wigs whom this law was originally directed towards.

So here's my breakdown of those who will be affected if the Quiltish line of baby items are discontinued:

  • My family- obviously, at least in the short term, there will be a loss of this income
  • Fabric Store- Local, family-owned business from whom I purchase large amounts of fabric, notions, and supplies
  • Craft Stores- local shops where I also purchase much of my notions
  • USPS- I ship a fair amount of packages- using USPS each time
  • PayPal- I pay fees for PayPal to process each of my orders....while they are quite large, I imagine they employ a fair amount of people
  • Small Online Fabric Shops- I love to have small amounts of fabric, for little projects or seasonal items & often buy them from small online businesses like mine
  • Boutiques & Baby Shops- Shops that will no longer be able to carry my baby items & shops I've had to turn away with this law coming into effect
  • Packaging Suppliers- my orders have to get there somehow....I use poly mailers, tissue paper & mailing tape to ship each order
  • Nanny- our nanny currently works two days a week to watch my son so that I can work on Quiltish...with less orders for me, less hours for her
  • Etsy- again they are huge, and of course, I'll be creating something else if need be, but undoubtedly there will be a loss for them (obviously other sites as well, such as 1,000 Markets, Artfire, etc.)
  • Peripheral Companies- businesses who make my business cards & labels...less orders= less need for these supplies

Wow. I'm actually amazed myself, seeing it all written out like that. Now, multiply that by all the other small business who won't be able to afford testing (the first or the second round)- the folks who make wooden cars, reusable diaper covers, hand knit caps, soft stuffies...the list goes on.

Here is a link to Etsy's toolkit which paraphrases the law & includes contact information to raise awareness & fight to revise this law: http://www.etsy.com/storque/media/bunker/2009/01/CPSIA-Etsy-Resources.pdf

Here's a few items that I may need to say farewell to:


Winklepots said...

Beautifully written post. Thank you so much for helping to spread the word about this poorly written law. It affects us all. Here's hoping it's amended soon to minimize the damage being done.

PS your items are adorable. I hope this law is amended so shops like ours will be around for years to come.

myminimocs said...

excellent - thank you for sharing this information - together hopefully we can make an impact and get this law amended and focused back onto it's original intent - keeping our children safe!