Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Help Save Handmade Children's Products!

Most likely, many of you have heard about the new Consumer Protection Safety Information Act of 2008 (CPSIA) and the impact it may soon have on the Children's Toy and Clothing industry.

As a small business owner, I am appalled by the unreasonable testing regulations on children's toys and apparel that will go into affect on February 10, 2009.

And, as a mom who loves to buy darling one-of-a-kind handmade clothing and toys (like the wool Maia doll by Violastudio on the left) for my kiddos, nieces, nephews and friends, I am terribly saddened by the prospect that soon I may no longer be able to purchase these items.

According to the new regulations, artisans like myself will be required to pay for expensive testing for lead and chemicals, called phthalates, on all children's products they make and sell. The required tests are very expensive, and will effectively render most sellers of handmade goods unable to continue offering their children's toys, clothing and accessories.
As an affected party, I am working with many of my fellow artisans on Etsy and throughout the children's handmade products community to spread the word about this potentially terrible blow to our businesses and, in many cases, our livelihood.

If you have not yet heard about this issue or if you want to learn more about it, you can read an excellent summary of the legislation here. Below are other sources to help you learn more about what is being done by numerous advocates of children's handmade toys and clothing to appeal to lawmakers to change this law so that it will not put hundreds of small business owners out of business.

There is also a lot of confusion right now among advocates striving for change and those who are being affected by these regulations. As a former journalist, I am a firm believer that access to clear, accurate information from a variety of reliable sources is key to educating the community on an issue and to helping advocates find the best way to make their voice heard.
Finally, there is a class action lawsuit being filed on behalf of artisans, crafters and small business owners, like myself. Click here to read a press release about the lawsuit and to learn how to become involved.
Handmade children's items featured on

Where can I learn more about the issue? Where the Chalkydoodles shop resides, is heavily involved in the issue and has multiple blog postings on the Storque regarding the issue. Also, read Etsy's Open Letter about the CPSIA

The Handmade Toy Alliance

The Toy Industry Association summary of CPSIA

CPSIA Central, a discussion site for those working to amend the CPSIA

BuyHandmade blog at

What can I do to help?

Vote for change on the website and join more than 10,000 other voters who have voted to support a proposal by the Handmade Toy Alliance to amend the CPSIA "so that all businesses large and small are able to comply and survive."

Contact your representatives and senators:

U.S. House of

Write the Consumer Product Safety Commission (the CPSC):

Sign Petitions

Petition to "Repeal the CPSIA"

Petition regarding the CPSIA's Impacts on the Children's Apparel Industry
I hope and pray that amendments will be made to the CPSIA to exempt certain materials from testing and/or to provide provisions for small businesses being required to test their products. If you enjoy purchasing handmade items and want to show your support for small businesses, please take a moment to read and then to act.

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