Monday Afternoon Soapbox
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.