Monday, January 19, 2009

The Final Countdown to CPSIA

What? You don't know what CPSIA is? Yeah well I didn't either so I'll help you out and share with you. CPSIA =Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. That sounds great doesn't it? Yay!! After that big lead scare last year it's about time something was done! Woo Hoo and Yippee!

Wrong. This is probably some of the most poorly written legislation ever. Here's what our friends at the Consumer Products Safety Commission have done. After the lead scare they got all tough and decided that the solution was to make sure that all products that were intended for use by children 12 and under be thoroughly tested for safe lead levels. Still a great idea, right? Sure until you see how they did it.

It's not enough for the ribbon manufacturers to test their product before they sell it. Now the people who buy that ribbon have to test it again when they put it into any product. They aren't changing the ribbon in anyway but they still have to test it before they can put it on the market.

Now if I buy a dress that has the manufacturer's ribbon on it not only am I paying more for the original manufacturer's testing (which he passed on to the seamstress) but now I'm going to pay for the seamstress's testing too. Guess what happened to my $12 dress from Target? It just jumped to $20.

Now let's look at cottage industry in America. There are home businesses that make art for the nursery, custom tees and onesies, bedding, hairbows and hairbow holders. Want to guess what the new law does to them? They too have to test their product for lead. And if it's a custom shop they can't just test one item out of a batch because they are making them to order. They have to test every individual piece. How long do you suppose they are going to be able to keep it up when they have to foot a $300 test for each item they produce?

So in a time when Americans are already out of work and money is already tight, not only are we going to shut down the American entrepreneur, but we are going to make that same entrepreneur pay more for all of their goods.

Now what started this whole thing? Oh yeah! It came from cheaply made imported goods. Hmmm. So instead of putting the testing on the folks who are importing goods and reselling them, we are going to put it on the manufacturers.

How about this instead. Let's bring some manufacturing jobs home. Convert those eyesores known as empty retail space that Mr. WalMart built and then abandoned for a bigger space right across the street into factories and sewing factories. Put American citizens back to work. And have a safe product created right here in a country that we need to take some pride in again.

Let's see Americans at work - positive; safe product for our children - positive; recycling buildings into something useful - positive; increase in American pride - positive. Anyone see a downside to this?

The CPSIA goes into effect on February 10th. Now the are three things we have going for us. First, the Consumer Product Safety Commission is underfunded and really has no chance of strictly enforcing this law but that doesn't mean people shouldn't follow the law anyway. Second, you can probably rack up some really great deals on Mom-made if you stalk Etsy in the next few weeks because it's going to be a real "Going Out of Business" sale. And finally, consignment shops and "resellers" don't have to test their products for lead content - they just have to make an effort to avoid things that are questionable. So you can still buy that antique wrought iron crib with the white lead paint that you were eyeing for the nursery - it came from a consignment shop.

We all know just how political I am but I promise that I've already sent my letters and e-mails to my state representatives. For the sake of American made could I ask you to do the same? This thing needs to be repealed, reassessed and completely rewritten.

Now Trisha over at MomDot has put a video together too so if you didn't understand my version of events maybe you'll get hers. Study this. Whether you are a home business or not it IS going to impact you. You are a consumer and if they can't pass the cost on through the actual items they are required to test (children's products), they will pass it on in everything else they make (Dad's t-shirts).

1 comment:

spec said...

I nominate YOU to the white house!