Monday, December 22, 2008

The End of Handmade Children's Products?

If the title of this post seems a bit far-fetched and apocalyptic, think again. On November 20, 2008, Congress passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), known more generally as the Toy Safety Law. The grim specter of thousands of craft professionals going out of business now hangs like a Damoclean sword as the deadline for compliance, February 10, 2009, inches closer. Why? There are many reasons, but one stands out above the others: In order to comply with this law, most artisans who handcraft products for children aged twelve and under will be required to submit each batch of products for professional safety testing, at a cost of thousands of dollars per test. That’s right, thousands. Considering the fact that the vast majority of “sole proprietors” make less than ten thousand dollars in profit per year from their loving, time-intensive craft, it doesn’t take a CPA to tell you that these testing requirements will force almost everyone who handcrafts products for children to simply close up shop.

Who does that leave standing, then? Ironically, it leaves only the “big box” manufacturers who can absorb such prohibitive costs, the very same manufacturers who are most likely to import products from overseas factories that operate under dubious-to-nonexistent safety standards. Perhaps CPSIA should stand for Clueless Politicians Shafting Independent Artisans, because despite all this year’s political rhetoric about saving America’s economy through entrepreneurialism, it’s obvious who this law hurts most. It hurts you, it hurts me, and it hurts gifted individuals like Amber Dusick of Woodmouse. As someone who creates beautifully nostalgic toys using sustainable wood, non-toxic paint and beeswax, Amber should be rewarded for her eco-conscious ways, not flattened by the bureaucracy of a government that needs small businesses like hers to succeed. If you believe in fighting for people like Amber, and indeed for the future of the entire Etsy community and others like it, please join us in protesting this shockingly myopic law by writing your congressman today.

Learn more about Woodmouse Here and Here.

Please take the time to visit the following links to learn about this law and see what you can do to help:


Rosie said...

I'm shocked. How awful... and I bet it's not long before we in the UK feel the effects if this Bill is passed. I'm going to see if there's any way I can help...

Pamela Kramer said...

Thank you for spreading the word to your readers!

Misty said...

i got this reply:::::::::

December 30, 2008

Ms. Misty VanEpps

515 Exeter Road, Apartment M7

San Antonio, Texas 78209

Dear Ms. VanEpps,

Thank you for your letter regarding the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA). I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.

Recent events involving imported and domestic food, toys and other products have raised questions about health and safety. Congress considered various bills to address these issues, including the CPSIA, which was signed into law on August 14, 2008.

The Committee on Energy and Commerce's Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection scheduled a hearing for December 10, 2008, to address the implementation of the CPSIA. This hearing was postponed and a new hearing date has not yet been scheduled.

Be assured that I will continue to monitor this situation with your concerns in mind.

For more information on my work in Congress, or to send me an electronic message, please visit the 21st District's website at


Lamar Smith
Member of Congress

This mailbox is unattended. If you would like to contact me, please visit my Congressional website. Click on Contact Lamar Smith .