CPSIA, What's at stake? Crafty Goodness for kids

Okay, I'm about to rant.

I've been stewing and very angry about a law that is supposed to go into effect on Feb 10. It's a law called the CPSIA, or the Consumer Product Safety Information Act, that requires anyone who sells anything for kids (under the age of 12) to PROVE that their items are lead-free via a fairly complicated testing system. It's meant to protect us from the lead-in-toys-made-in-China-and-elsewhere yuckiness that took place last year. And no, you can't just prove that the items that went into the product were lead-free, everything has to be tested after it is made.

Several of the crafty blogs I follow have been mentioning it (read about it at ETSY, here) , as well as a few of the publishing blogs I follow -- I promise, this is not some kind of out-there weirdo thing that is being made up. There was a front page article about it on the Bellingham Herald yesterday. It's a real and real stupid reality. If you want to read more about it go to google news and type in CPSIA you'll get a bunch of articles like this one.

The problem? Amongst many, the law as it stands is so sweeping that it will make even small-time crafty operators -- etsy artists like me -- test their products which is essentially impossible for them - they will not be able to stay in business.

Consignment stores were calling Feb 10 national bankruptcy day until a partial amendment was recently passed that made some second-hand goods exempt. Yes, that's right the law is/was even retro-active, meaning if you sold something made before the law passed, it still needed testing. This includes any kind of book, toy, clothing, or anything made for kids under the age of 12 (or even appearing to appeal to kids under the age of 12). Meaning there would be LOTS and LOTS of junk out there in the world that was perfectly good for re-use but would cost way too much to prove it so and therefore would end up in a land-fill someplace.

As I understand it, the law will still be a huge problem for publishers' blacklists of books -- in other words, books that have already been printed, but not tested. That goes for books sitting on the shelves at your local indie book store right now. Which I think is insane.

And while some small exemptions have already been made for things made of certain (a very few certain) materials (wood, wool, I think cotton, and a few others), the law as it is still will have dramatic and downright stupid consequences for small crafty businesses and mom & pop stores who sell small crafty things. It will also end up harming a lot of manufacturers who deal within the US entirely -- meaning this law will end up helping the very big corporate giants who brought us the lead-filled-crap in the first place.

Do I sound mad? I am. It's lame. Super lame. It's the most un-thought-out law I can imagine.

The good news: it seems really possible that the proper exemptions will be made IF enough people speak up about it. As I mentioned, some exemptions have already been made. And, really, further exemptions are extremely reasonable. This is something that will and should be changed if enough people voice their dismay at the idiocy of it all.

For the sake of all kid-crafty goodness out there, please go to the website for the Handmade Toy Alliance, and take some action.

Yes -- you.
It won't take long.

On the website you can:
1. link to change.org and vote for the issue to be a priority in our government (the etsy site said the deadline was in December, but I went there yesterday and was able to vote).
2. sign the petition that the alliance has put forth
3. look up the address for your representatives and then use either their sample letter or write your own and get your voice out there.