05 January 2009

Monday Afternoon Soapbox

Usually, I try to keep my politics off of this blog, but today I really cannot help myself. I absolutely must talk about an issue that has me shaking my head in disbelief.

US residents have probably heard of the legislation that was passed after the lead scare having to do with toys and other goods imported from China. I agree with the premise: we need to protect our kids. But the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, or CPSIA, is one of the most ill-conceived pieces of legislation I have ever seen. If this retroactive law is, in fact, allowed to go into effect on February 10, here are some of things we can expect.

1. It will be financially and logistically impossible to buy or sell used children's goods, including clothes, books and toys. Even collectibles like old comic books and toys, that a child will probably never touch, are banned from sale because they were originally manufactured for kids and have not been tested for lead.

2. You will no longer be able to buy used clothes for your kids, because the stores that sell them will not have the funds to test each and every item for lead as the law requires.

3. Small businesses selling hand made children's items will cease to exist, as will small toy and kids' clothing makers. Lead testing costs approximately $4,000 per item, and a sample of each finished item must be tested even if the components are certified lead free, thereby rendering it financially impossible to stay in business.

4. On February 10, kids' items that were on sale February 9 will be illegal to sell if they have no certificate showing compliance. There is no grandfather clause.

This is just a small sample of what is in store. I will spare you the commentary on whose lobbyists really wrote this pile of camel dung, but I will say this: we are all struggling. I know a lot of people are buying and selling used goods these days, including us. With growing kids, it takes a lot of money to buy new, never mind the implications for our planet when we can no longer re-use goods. This is an added burden most of us cannot bear.

Then there are the businesses. How many will close because of this ridiculous law? My husband makes toys from wood and non toxic milk paint. But, even though the components have tested clean, he will have to test each type of toy he makes at up to $4,000 a pop. So who will benefit when he and thousands like him go out of business? The same people who brought you the tainted toys in the first place: the only people who can afford the hefty price tag of testing, the big plastic toy and apparel makers.

We have a chance to get this issue in front of President-elect Obama immediately after he takes office, by voting here. Please won't you take a moment to look at the facts and vote?

Thank you! I now return you to our regularly scheduled programming.



Blogger Tiny Tyrant said...

Done. Voted. Morons (them not you ;-) ). Great Soapbox to be on.

3:45 PM  
Blogger SbutterAMfly said...

Wow. That makes me angry... this can't really be something that happens.

5:14 PM  
Blogger Sonya said...

Of all the things to protect us from....do not protect my children from a great grandfather that builds Noah's Ark, or special Easter baskets.
Point this legislation in the right direction.

3:51 AM  
Blogger Soo said...

Sadly I can't vote as I'm not American - but I certainly would be if I could.

I never cease to be amazed at how people can come up with these sorts of policies without having any real insight into the impact. How can they not have seen the very obvious issues you (and others) have outlined?

7:34 AM  
Blogger Alison said...

Wow, I had no idea. Books? We get a lot of our kids' books used. I homeschool and I have to wonder how this law will affect some of the small curriculum sellers; the hobby shop down the road is already having problems; I can see this driving them right out of business.

I've voted on the site you linked and I'm off to find my Congress people to tell them how I feel about it.

9:17 AM  
Blogger Debi said...

Another vote from me and the P-Man :)

7:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember hearing about this bill when it first came up & I thought about you because I remembered your hubby makes toys. I'll vote for you.

5:49 PM  

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