Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Label a Day. . .

"The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) is a sweeping new law that impacts a broad spectrum of our economy. From manufacturers of toys to the kids that play with them, everyone is affected in some way -- even those who make and donate products to hospitals and charities.

There are new rules to be understood and adopted for everyone from the largest global manufacturer to the crafter working in the family workshop to the mom-and-pop shop on the corner. Indeed, all children’s products including toys, books, child care articles and clothing are covered in different ways by this law, and there are different rules for different products."

The CPSIA has been the equivalent of a dull sewing needle to creators of child's items over the last year or so. Seeking to keep children safe this law is slowing putting people out of business. The little people who are actually considered manufacturers according to the CPSIA website. I never considered myself a manufacturer. I considered myself a hobbiest - the equivelent of Grandma and her knitting needles but soon Grandmom could go to jail for selling her knit stuffed animals at a craft fair. Sad but true.

I can understand the need to crack down on harmful chemicals used in children's products. I actually read in a magazine not to led my son drink from the outside hose because it could contain lead! I grew up drinking from the hose and now I'm supposed to limit the time my son spends in his pool because of lead? Are we over-reacting or finally catching up to where our standards should have been years ago.

I do not understand how this attention to possible dangers has skipped over big companies and come down hard on the little guy. The testing required is expensive and already many shops on Etsy have closed. Come August when new laws come into effect others plan to close as well. It's not like these crafters are out to hurt your children! Handmade items have a special feeling to them and are handed down generation to generation - just don't try to sell Great-Grandmom's quilt to someone . . .you could go to jail. Don't sell any old children's books either.

A list of exempt items has come out and if you stick to it you're permitted to continue selling and donating your items. I've read about labels to show material content being required but that's fine by me . . .well it was until reading something else about what type of label to use because the wrong one could be on the 'illegal materials' list and land me in the slammer.

Slowly crafters everywhere are making sense of these laws and keeping up-to-date on the latest changes. One day you think you're safe and can continue and the next you read something and are ready to pack it all up.

Personally I'm continuing with some things here and there. I know my quilts are okay as long as I stick to that infamous list. My burp cloths. . .I would think the cloths I use in the start are okay since they're made by Gerber but maybe I can get a cert from them to show it. It's so frustrating because reading these laws is enough to make your head feel like it's going to explode.

For now it's back to my morning coffee.

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