Sunday, December 14, 2008

Help Save Handmade Toys in the USA

As regular Ugga Mugga readers know, this site features safe products for children...handmade, natural products that are not mass-products and that contain no harmful chemicals such as phthalates and lead. And that is why I believe so many of you come to this site and trust the products reviewed. But most of the small companies you see here, and as a result, the Ugga Mugga blog, are in danger of going out of business due to CPSIA...the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act.

I know that something called the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act sounds like a good thing from the title. And it is...for mass-produced products made in China and such. But if CPSIA goes into effect in two months as planned, it will absolutely decimate the independent artisans, small toy manufacturers, and crafters that I feature on this site on a daily basis...and that I know you all love. They will all be driven out of business. End of story.

Here's why:

The Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act will require very steep costs for mandatory testing from small American, Canadian, and European toymakers...prices they simply do not have the money to pay.
  • A toymaker, for example, 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.
  • A work at home mom in Minnesota who makes dolls to sell at craft fairs must choose either to violate the law or cease operations.
  • A small toy retailer in Vermont who imports wooden toys from Europe, which has long had stringent toy safety standards, must now pay for testing on every toy they import.
  • And even the handful of larger toy makers who still employ workers in the United States face increased costs to comply with the CPSIA, even though American-made toys had nothing to do with the toy safety problems of 2007.
The CPSIA simply forgot to exclude the class of toys that have earned and kept the public's trust: Toys made in the US, Canada, and Europe. The result, unless the law is modified, is this:

Handmade toys will be illegal in the United States. If this law had been applied to the food industry, every farmers market in the country would be forced to close.

So here's what you can do NEED to do:
  • Please write to your United States Congress Person and Senator to request changes in the CPSIA to save handmade toys. Use this sample letter or write your own. You can find your Congress Person here and Senator here.
  • Send a letter directly to the CPSIA (dan[at]peapods[dot]com).
  • Spread the word of the CPSIA to your friends, family, parenting group members, and anyone else who will listen...just forward this piece using the envelope icon at the end of the post. Encourage them to join in the fight to save handmade toys.
Together, we can make a difference. And for the sake of our children, we NEED to make a difference! Please help!

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