CPSIA problems – The problem Is NOT that we want to sell cheap lead-ridden stuff to defenseless babies.

I need to stop reading parent comments to news stories and blog posts about the CPSIA. I’m getting a little upset over comments like “those manufacturers begging for a change in the law just want to continue making a buck from selling their cheap crap to our kids.” OK, that was an exact quote.

First, companies do not force cheap crap on kids. Parents and other buy said cheap crap and give it willingly to their kids. But that’s really beside the point, isn’t it?

Nobody is saying the law is not a good idea. It’s just badly written and poorly thought through.

1. it requires expensive testing for lead on things that could never have lead. unpainted, all wood toys, for example. i do not think many parents realize where lead comes from: paint and dye. Unpainted wood? No lead. I don’t need to test it to know that.

2. though consumer advocates say that the toy industry had warning this was coming, I’ll tell you who didn’t realize it would be soo expansive: textiles manufacturers.

3. the testing is overly onerous. testing every item, post-production? that’s just stupid.

And here’s something. As a consumer, I feel like I’m being penalized for being smart about toys. We’ve trended towards natural products, all-wood, wool, fabric, etc. Handmade or made by super great companies like Haba and Selecta. We’re not big Plastic Imported Toys purchasers.

And guess what? I’m the one who’s going to get screwed over by this legislation. Because I’m not going to be able to buy them any more. If they even remain available, they’ll be even more expensive than they now are – because the makers will have to prove that their already lead-free toys are, well, free of lead.

It’s just frustrating that so many of the comments I’m reading out there in cyberspace are from people who just don’t get it. And I understand – it’s a law that protects our Children. It’s for the Children. Right?


I have a game plan for the interim and am feeling pretty good

Well, my 2.5 blog readers, I do have an interim game plan to keep me going February through August. There are still some details to be worked out, but I think I have a good, workable plan to keep me in business from February, when the CPSIA mandates reasonable testing, through August, when third-party final product testing is required.

And I can’t plan beyond that. I cannot survive past August without changes to the law. I may be able to survive with changes. But it remains to be seen, of course, if there will be changes and what those changes might be.

I have been, by the way, a little disappointed by the attitudes I’ve seen from some retailers about the whole thing. Sort of “yeah, sucks to be you. too bad. not my problem” kind of a thing. Truly, it affects everyone – manufacturers moreso than anyone, of course, but retailers and consumers, as well. We’re all in this together. Let’s all do what we can to get it changed! Write your Congresspeople!!

More from Fashion Incubator on CPSIA and now I’m all sad again

I’ve been reading up on what I have to do to comply with the law between Feb 10 when it goes into effect and August, when third party (read: expensive) testing goes into effect.

I know I have to issue certificates stating that my items are safe and I have to have some basis for this, but I’ve been trying to determine what will be acceptable to the government. Because my saying “of course there’s no lead in my diapers, you dummies” just won’t cut it.

Fashion Incubator has nicely done the research for me.

So, from February to August, you may have the option of using a reputable lab or testing service that is not an officially approved CPSC testing lab. Now, just because a lab is not currently approved doesn’t mean the lab isn’t any good but you have to do your homework. You will have to determine whether an official body such as the CPSC or your state’s Attorneys General (charged with enforcement) would consider your lab to be a legitimate resource. Some have suggested home testing kits for lead are an option but it is dubious that these would be acceptable. Most authorities agree that lead testing services provided by businesses such as Taggert’s are viable. Using an XRF gun, inventory samples can be scanned for lead. This is an attractive option for smaller producers because products remain saleable after testing (more comprehensive testing destroys products), it’s faster and it costs much less, perhaps $200 to $300 for a batch of samples.

This would be for stuff I have in inventory as of Feb 10 as well as for anything new I produce.

OK, fine. But, um, unless you, my customers reading this blog, are willing to pay about double for diapers, this isn’t viable for me, either.