Tuesday, January 13, 2009

here's something you should be concerned about

You know me here as someone that is a goof ball, fairly light hearted and likes to share some ideas once in a while.

But it's time to be a little more serious for a moment.

If you know anything about me, you know that I used to be a teddy bear artist. For around 11 years I travelled the country (and the world) selling handmade artist quality teddy bears.

There are thousands of people like me. Not just teddy bears, but wooden toys sold in craft malls (I used to have one of those too!), women sewing handmade diapers so she can stay at home with HER baby, people altering clothing to sell on etsy and ebay.

But there's a problem. (from the handmade toy alliance website):
"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 and manufacturers of children's products, however, the costs of mandatory testing will likely drive them out of business."

If you make anything at all, trust me this will eventually apply to you too. One thing that I did learn about proper labeling of my toys, was it didn't matter what the INTENTION of the item was (Mine was artist *collectible* toys, not to be played with). It's what the end user's intentions are.

So if they see something that you make, and they think it's a toy - it's a TOY. (because, trust me, the world is full of morons like that - sorry, but it's true).

Even if you don't make items for sale or take your old toys to a resale shop - you can still help, and this does effect you. This will take a lot of $$ out of our economy - this will put a lot of small businesses out of business, and they won't be spending $$ in YOUR place of business.

Go to:
You can sign a petition here

Please write to your United States Congress Person and Senator to request changes in the CPSIA to save handmade toys and children's products. Use our sample letter or write your own. You can find your Congress Person here and Senator here. I did, using the sample letter and adding a bit of personalized text of my own. It took me all of 5 minutes!

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