Have you heard about the new law that will be going into effect February 10?
CPSIA or Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act is designed to protect children from the dangers of lead poisoning.
Which is a good thing. Right?
The trouble is this legislation was very poorly written and, it would seem, scarcely thought through.
Even my baby bonnets, though they are made from materials that are not known to contain lead, will require mandatory lead testing for each component (pink thread, white thread, fabric) or I face felony charges and hefty fines. Tests have to be conducted by labs that have been approved by the Commission, and range in price from several hundred to several thousand dollars. Every time I buy fabric from a new bolt or a new vendor, the bonnets must be retested. When I buy thread for smocking from a new lot, they must be retested.
Or I will face felony charges.
Here is how Deputy Headmistress explains the absurdity of the law.
Imagine there are seven different etsy sellers in my town. They each crochet or knit different items for their own individual cottage industry. Grandma Jones knits dear little baby booties, Ms. Jan crochets quirky stuffed toys, Tiff crochets adorable sweaters for toddlers, Mrs. Doyle specializes in crocheted doll clothes, MeeMaw Marks Makes Crocheted Muffins, Cyndi Lou Who makes funky crocheted hair bands, scrunchies, and bows, and Miss Latedah does heirloom quality knitted or crocheted blankets. They ALL buy their yarn at the same local shop. So the shop has a special on a scrumpdillylicious shade of peach parfait one week, and they all stock up and make a couple products each using only that lovely peach parfait- the same yarn used by seven different crafters for seven different items (except Cyndi Lou, who made four different styles of hair holders with the same ball of yarn).
They each have to pay to test their yarn separately, and then when finished, they have to pay to test the finished product again (Cyndy Lou has to pay for four separate finished component tests)- even if none of the yarns or stuffing ever had lead or phthalates. And then they each have to devise a permanent label with all the info the government wants to attach to their products.
So the same batch of yarn has to be tested at least 18 different times in just my tiny local example. Those seven crafters have to use third party testing after August, so they have to package up their goods and mail them out, imposing additional burdens of time, money, and aggravation- all for the exact same batch of yarn!
(See her full post here. It is a must read.)
Since I only make a small profit on my bonnets, and since I don't want to attach a label, mandated by the government, that proclaims "LEAD FREE!" what this means for me is the end of my bonnet business.
My husband pointed out that I don't sell that many and we won't really miss the money when I stop selling them, but it's that I have been put out of business by our government that irks me.
It isn't just your friendly neighborhood bonnet smockers who will be affected, either.
What it means for all of us is higher prices for children's items, from clothes to shoes to books and toys.
It means fewer small businesses selling children's items.
If you object to this, tell the folks who represent you in Washington. For their contact information, just enter your zip code here. It is a very simple form to fill out with a space for writing your opinions.
Maybe if they hear from enough of us, we can get this law changed!