Tuesday, December 2, 2008

All people who make or buy handmade toys must read this article!!!

This is typical bureaucracy and yet another way the government chooses to support large irresponsible corporations while the small business owners are forced out of business. Most small toy makers, especially those who make their toys by hand, use care in selecting their materials. Their products should therefore be safe if those materials were bought in the United States, not imported directly. There should be non toxic certifications on said materials since they are being sold here that should exempt small toy makers from testing each individual product. Large toy companies have shown a propensity for making large profits while not monitoring closely enough their manufacturing process in foreign countries. Children's health and welfare have been put at risk to make a buck. Large corporations have the means to monitor and test their products as well as a responsibility to do so and, in my opinion, had they been responsible, this act would never been needed and never would have come to pass. The cost for large corporations is more easily absorbed within their product pricing. They may have higher overhead but they are also blessed with huge profits on each product they produce and sell.

Please read this article and write your Congressman and Senator.

[taken directly from the Handmade Toy Alliance website]

Help Save Handmade Toys in the USA

The issue:

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, however, the costs of mandatroy testing will likely drive them out of business.

  • 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 that handmade toys will no longer be legal in the US.

If this law had been applied to the food industry, every farmers market in the country would be forced to close while Kraft and Dole prospered.

How You can Help:

Please write to your United States Congress Person and Senator to request changes in the CPSIA to save handmade toys. Use our sample letter or write your own. You can find your Congress Person here and Senator here.


kathleen said...

It serves no purpose to splinter the effort in camps of large vs small. While not politically expedient to say so, large manufacturers are actually disproportionately affected. The point is, we're all in this together and we're all in trouble. The fight shouldn't be David vs Goliath because it's stupid. Goliath isn't the enemy; we should work as one front against the enactment of the legislation. Btw, if it matters to you, I'm a one person company. I'm just saying this because many people are uncomfortable with the Handmade Toy Alliance's position and are avoiding signing their petition for this reason. The fight isn't against large toy makers, it's against congress and special interest groups who've persuaded them to pass it.

elf said...

Thanks for your comment Kathleen.

I agree with what you're saying but it seems to me that the large corporations have been the ones who have turned a blind eye to the safety issues we are now facing. Every time my little boy puts a manufactured toy in his mouth, I have to wonder what the future implications will be. The small business will be the first to fold or as we have seen, the responsible European companies will choose not to sell their toys in the states because of the cost and therefore force us to either not buy any toys for our children, make them ourselves(if we are able to) or buy what's out there by the huge corporations who, in my opinion, caused all the concern. And I still don't believe all this testing will end the problems due to the widespread corruption in our government/agencies,etc.

By the way, Who are the special interest groups involved in this anyway?

rosannepm said...

Thank you so much for bringing up this important issue on your blog. We are risking our childrens safety for cheaper prices. Not only the effect on adults-losing jobs but the health effects on children. This must stop.