Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Nightmare of the Child Protection Services Information Act

So how many of you have heard about the CPSIA? This is a piece of legislation that passed very quietly in 2008, that states that all products geared towards children under the age of 12 must be tested for lead and certified by February 10, 2009. You can read it in all its confusing and contradictory glory here.

Seems like a good idea, yes? After all, we must guarantee the safety of our children, especially after all the stories in the news about contaminated children’s products in the past couple of years. But well-meaning doesn’t mean well-crafted, and this bill is a nightmare of contradictions and impossible restrictions.

Why am I worried about it, you might ask? I don’t sell children’s items, after all, and most of my jewelry is geared towards adults, with a few pieces that could be categorized as appropriate for the “young lady.”

Well, it does apply to me, because I have a 5-year old. I like to buy her toys and clothes from local artists at craft fairs instead of at mass merchandising chains, because firstly I prefer to give my money directly to the person who actually does the work of manufacturing the item, and I also like to know that I am purchasing an item that is most likely made of higher quality materials than mass-produced goods, and has a likelihood of remaining in decent shape till she grows out of it or tires of it. I also like to visit thrift stores, to garb her well in a decent budget instead of spending a fortune on clothing items she will outgrow in 6-8 months.

So as of February 10, my variety of choices will dry up. Thousands of small businesses and sole proprietorships will close up shop or change their wares, because at $300 or more a test, they cannot afford to conform to the strict testing guidelines that the CPSIA requires. Thrift stores and consignment shops, in order to comply with these guidelines it seems, will not be able to sell goods meant for the “children under 12” age bracket, because they will not have access to the certifications this bill requires for all items geared towards this age group. And toy manufacturers who produce quality items that conform to European guidelines, which are much stricter than those currently in place in the United States, have already stated that they will not import to the US once the new policies take effect.

So the end result of the legislation meant to protect our children from mass-produced items of dubious quality will be that the only children’s items available will be mass-produced items of dubious quality. Funny, that. Well, not really.

Here are some items that will be illegal come February 10th:

This delightful Tooth Fairy Pillow, by TheCupCakery:

Baby Pirates Chenille Baby Blanket, by TurtleParkTots:

Set of Three Soft Blocks, by Whimbrella:

Hand-Painted Pea Pod Onesie, by LittlePod

Vintage Christening Gown, from TheSunnySidebiz:

And this pair of vintage baby shoes, from my other shop, MissVictoriasVintage:


Higher Chakra Creations said...

You know I didn't even think about the trift store thing!!! I buy all my kids clothes there, why spend so much for something he grows out of so fast! This sucks!

Made By Tammy said...

Wow, I had no idea!

Great post!

Anonymous said...

This is so ridiculous. I understand laying out guidelines, but taking away the entire selection of items geared toward those under twelve seems well... like someone is out to make alot of money while squishing the rest of us in the dirt with their corporate thumb. Peeves me to no end!

Cyber_Hippie said...

You know, I don't have kids and I don't intend to, but seeing the pictures of all of these darling things that will no longer be available makes me want to cry. (I like cute, and if I had kids, I'd want handmade.)

This law has GOT to change!

Jen M.

Grace said...

I've got an ever better idea. Why doesn't the US just quit importing things made by children in sweatshops that have no problem using lead and melamine? Probably because that would make too much sense.

When handmade sock monkeys are outlawed, only outlaws will have handmade sock monkeys. Is this the world we want our children to grow up in?