Consumer safety rules could drive crafters out of business

Craft & Design
Consumer safety rules could drive crafters out of business

Cory writes

Crafters are up in arms over a seemingly disastrous unintended consequence of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), which will require lab certification that lead and phthalates are not present in toys or clothes — sounds good, but crafters warn that this means that “a toymaker… who makes wooden cars in his garage in Maine to supplement his income cannot afford the $4,000 fee per toy that testing labs are charging to assure compliance with the CPSIA.” The law takes effect on February 10th and the toymakers and small clothing designers are getting very worried indeed.

In 2007, large toy manufacturers who outsource their production to China and other developing countries violated the public’s trust. They were selling toys with dangerously high lead content, toys with unsafe small part, toys with improperly secured and easily swallowed small magnets, and toys made from chemicals that made kids sick. Almost every problem toy in 2007 was made in China.

The United States Congress rightly recognized that the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) lacked the authority and staffing to prevent dangerous toys from being imported into the US. So, they passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in August, 2008. Among other things, the CPSIA bans lead and phthalates in toys, mandates third-party testing and certification for all toys and requires toy makers to permanently label each toy with a date and batch number.

All of these changes will be fairly easy for large, multinational toy manufacturers to comply with. Large manufacturers who make thousands of units of each toy have very little incremental cost to pay for testing and update their molds to include batch labels.

For small American, Canadian, and European toymakers, however, the costs of mandatory testing will likely drive them out of business.

National Bankruptcy Day.
Help Save Handmade Toys in the USA from the CPSIA.

12 thoughts on “Consumer safety rules could drive crafters out of business

  1. Dale says:

    Couldn’t the 3rd party test lab perform a paper audit of the product produced if the manufacture/crafter produces all materials used in construction that are already pre-approved. I know that NSF does this, and the fee is substantially smaller than doing a whole slew of tests.

  2. brad says:

    It should be /easy/ for congresscritters to request an exception to the rules for small crafters – but only if WE act first.

  3. Jonnie says:

    The damn government is going to ruin this country.

  4. Ryan says:

    The crafters need to take a page from the adult toy industry and sell their objects as “Sculpture” or “Wall Hangings”. Or “for tobacco use only”.

    Craft consumers are smart enough to see around this dodge and unless government regulators have gotten MORE evil and LESS aware of PR problems they’ll not drag a woodcarver off to jail because his wheeled rocking horse didn’t have a toy certification.

    Unless, of course, it turns out to be full of lead.

  5. Chris says:

    Welcome to the downside (one of the few) of a Democratically controlled congress!

    Unintended consequences for the loss.

  6. says:

    This is a regulation long overdue.

    It doesn’t cost $4,000 to certify that a product is free of lead or phthalates. Wouldn’t the right answer be to figure out a way to start a low-cost alternative to these labs?

  7. Tre says:

    “Welcome to the downside (one of the few) of a Democratically controlled congress!”


    Acting Chairman: Nancy Nord – as appointed by GWBush in 2005
    Executive Director – Patsy Semple – formerly serving the staffs of James Bukley (R-NY), Nicholas Bradley (R-NJ), William Cramer (R-FL), Carl Pursell (R-MI)… As appoined by GW Bush.
    Director of Congressional Relations – Jack Horner – former legislative director to the House Republican Conference, Congressman J.C. Watts Jr. (R-Oklahoma). Worked with Hal Daub (R-Nebraska), Margarette Heckler (R-Massachusetts)

    I’m probably not the first to say I like the current congress – but if you’re not happy with who wrote this … It’s probably best to actually look at the office that wrote it.

  8. yesnoyesno says:

    I know if you are going to produce food your kitchen must be inspected and meet your states regulations and whatnot. One thing that can be done in the case of a home based food maker is to label the food ‘home produced’ (or something similar- i forget the exact wording). This bypasses the state/federal regulations and allows persons to sell food produced in a home kitchen. I first noticed this labeling on some vegan baked goods at a local health food store….

    It seems to me an exception like this should be put in place to protect the home based maker. The problem is that the large corporations DON’T CARE about you or your kids (if they did it would be logical to conclude that they would not have allowed these nasties to happen in the first place). Profit is the only care of the corporation. I would argue that the home maker is generally more interested in quality than corporations. Its a shame that something like this (that was probably well intended by the lawmakers) had this impact on the home maker. It also shows how little foresight and thought the politicians put into their new laws… I don’t believe they even know the home maker is out there, much less care.

  9. Hurr says:

    A regulation long overdue. I’m also eagerly awaiting the environmental impact statements, carbon credit requirements and recycling plans everybody who desires to benefit unfairly from selling something in our patriarchical, racist and fundamentally flawed capitalist system will have to submit.

    Luckily, with the new ReMake blog, we’ll all learn how to live eating dirt while powering our internets with non-carbon emitting, renewable pixie dust.

  10. BTW says:

    Sponsor: Rep. Bobby Rush [D-IL] (106 co-sponsors, only 4 of which are Republicans)

    House: Nobody voted against it.
    Senate: 13 Republicans voted against it.
    Conference: 3 Republicans voted against it, 0 Democrats.
    President: 1 Republican signed it.

    Not much difference between the two. Politicians, you gotta hate em.

    Captcha: suuc.

  11. yesnoyesno says:

    elephants or donkeys… same sh*t different pile.

    the only reason there are 2 parties at all is to facilitate the shifting of the blame over periods of time. makes people *think* they have choice, and the wrongdoings must be the ‘other’ folks fault. to argue over such matters is inherently pointless…

    i would think that if you are making things that this legislature applies to, you should simply ignore the legislature if you are not some multinational company. what you do/make in your own garage should be your business.

    this issue seems to have more to do with liberty than lead.

  12. jim klessig says:

    OTOH, the flip side is, these crafters may not know where their “bits and pieces ” come from, nor whatthey contain.

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