Handmade for Kids and the US Government

A repost I wrote for the CT team blog.

I recently became aware of something that will be in effect as of February 10, 2009 barring something unforeseen and will affect the business of countless Etsy sellers and small businesses.

This summer, H.R 4040, put forth by the CPSC, was signed into law. It aims to get hazardous chemicals out of children's toys, clothes, furniture, etc. (There some exclusions, but it's not very clear to me.) This sounds good. It requires that ALL, products marketed to or intended for children 12 and under be tested. The cost of the tests, which would have to be done for each product type/model (every blue ball, red ball, green barrette, orange barrette) could easily reach into the thousands of dollars. The supplier's test will not suffice. The end manufacturer will be responsible for obtaining their own certification.

Etsy canNOT help here. They are a venue, with sellers from around the globe. We are individually responsible for following our country's guidelines as is stated in their terms of use. (see section 5- Restricted Activities then #5 in that list.)

Attention can and must be brought to this, to the effect it will have on sellers on Etsy, eBay and beyond or independently and therefore our already struggling economy. It is possible it will can even affect the sale of such items at thrift stores and garage sales.

There are several links that I have found helpful. You will find them below. Please, even if you are not a maker of items specifically for children, I hope you will take some time to look this over and pass it along. We need to work together on this.

    Etsy Thread about the CPSC Deadline alot of my links are from there.
    National Bankruptcy Day- this is sort of new with not a lot of info, but there are links for contacting your congressman. On the Etsy thread, they suggest handwriting the letter instead of email since snail mail will more likely get read for security reasons.
    Petition against H.R. 4040 You can e-sign this even if you aren't a children's item seller. Be sure to pass it on.
    Rick Woldenberg’s speech at the CPSC conference- Links to the 3-part Youtube videos where Woldenberg speaks about the impact this will have on his company. He is not a small business, but the quickness and all-encompassing nature of this act has even big business worried.
    H.R. 4040- PDF The act in its entirety.
    Ask a Question of the CPSC- The site says: "Everyone is encouraged to submit questions. They will be very helpful to CPSC staff in developing general guidance on the new Act and Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) pages on specific issues".
    Updated:Etsyan Grecowoodcrafting's explanation in plain English, it's a worthwhile read.

So if anyone has any ideas on how to get the word out, about what this bill, as it stands now, will do to small businesses and craftspeople, feel free to post, comment. I'm not exactly sure how to proceed. Feel free to repost this info on your blog(s), Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, etc. Maybe get it out to the news media, with emphasis on small business. At its core, I think the bill means well. I'm completely for protecting kids. But I think this act will harm kids, with all the parents whose livelihoods will be at risk.

Thanks for reading this. It's long but important.