Save Small Business and Get Educated About CPSIA Because It Might Effect You!

The CPSIA (Consumer Product Improvement Act) was signed into law in August of 2008. All but 3 members of Congress voted yes for this bill (2 were not present for the vote, one voted no – Jim Demint from South Carolina). No one read the fine print or stopped to realize what this would do to businesses like ours (aka small businesses). The CPSC is the regulatory agency with jurisdiction over the CPSIA. It does not have the power to change the law, just interpret it. The law as written does not allow the CPSC to put flexibility into its rulings.

While the CPSIA has all good intentions of helping protect our children with safe products, it unfortunately didn’t take into consideration what this will do to the small businesses who also support, produce and manufacture products for this industry especially in this economy.

While the intentions of the Act are commendable, a major problem is they also put forth redundant testing requirements that small business, not just ‘Toy Manufacturers’ simple cannot afford. “We're not talking basic materials safety testing but highly bureaucratic, costly "quality control" that is unnecessary for us small businesses who closely supervise each detail that goes into our goods and can simply prove our use of wholesome materials that are already certified too” Janie McQueen (Susu and John).

From then the HTA (Handmade Toy Alliance) was formed to help educate consumers and most importantly government about what CPSIA is doing and how it is affecting an already weakened economy and putting small businesses out of business.

The Handmade Toy Alliance
Supporting small batch children's apparel, toy, and accessory makers
"We are an alliance of toy stores, toy makers and children's product manufacturers from across the country who want to preserve unique handmade and small batch toys, clothes, and all manner of children's goods in the USA.”

So here is the short version and what the CPSIA is doing:

Micro-business children’s product crafter – retailer
                (single owner or small group, no employees, making toys or children’s products in very small batches)

The CPSIA makes no provision for micro-businesses to be able to operate – they are treated equivalently to mass market manufacturers
    * Cost of 3rd party testing for lead and ASTM F963 not economically feasible 
    * Tracking, labeling and recordkeeping requirements burdensome & costly
    * The law and its requirements are too complex to interpret, apply and attempt compliance

Provide an exemption from all 3rdparty testing, certification and from labeling requirements

Let’s Chat with Jill Chuckas who is a small business owner herself (Crafty Baby) and active HTA Committee Staff Member Fighting for All of Us.

M.O.M Katie ~ Thanks so much for what you have been doing Jill! Can you just help our community understand that it’s not just about ‘toys’ for kids and who the CPSIA is affecting.

M.O.M Jill ~ The CPSIA includes regulations for ALL products intended for children aged 12 and under. Everything is included – books, bikes, educational materials, toys, sporting gear, stuffed animals, clothing – you name it, it’s included under this law. And, it effects every sized business – no matter how small they are or how few products they create. Although the toy recalls were caused by large, multi billion dollar companies that broke our countries trust, the legislation did not just target those industries. It effects us all.

M.O.M Katie ~ What will the Stay being lifted in February mean for small businesses? What are small companies going to have to do?

M.O.M Jill ~ The lifting of the stay will be devastating to small businesses like yours and mine that hand craft products individually or in small batches. There is just no way that we can afford to pay for destructive laboratory tests – and there are often ways to show compliance without these tests, but the CPSIA does not allow for them. Some relief could come in a ruling that we have been waiting for from the CPSC regarding component part certification. With this rule, folks like you and I should be able to receive certifications from our component part suppliers to show our compliance for the lead content rules. But, the CPSC has not yet issued this guidance. Without clear rules telling us what to do, it’s impossible to be sure that our businesses are doing what we need to show compliance under the CPSIA.

M.O.M Katie ~ How can small businesses, supporters, and consumers help?

M.O.M Jill ~First and foremost, write to your members of Congress and tell them to consider a common sense amendment to the CPSIA that will protect and save small businesses. People can find information about their Congress person on the HTA site under the resources tab on the top. We also have a sample letter to Congress on the site that may be helpful. And, tell a friend, or two, or three, that they should do the same. If I have learned anything over the last 2+ years working on this thing is that the more voices that make noise the better.

M.O.M Katie~ Can you share any other advice or thoughts on this fight?

M.O.M Jill ~Well, perseverance is key. Don’t give up. Hand crafters were not the reason for all the recalls and we shouldn’t have to bear the brunt of these regulations. Small business is the key to this country’s growth. The tradition of hand crafted, local goods will continue, especially if we all continue to make the commitment to support our community. Spreading the word is a great way to do that.

Thanks to the HTA and the many other voices.  Keep following and spreading the word:

on twitter: @toyalliance  on Facebook:!/ToyAlliance
contact at CPSC~ Small Business Ombudsman, Neil Cohen

Sign Petition to Amend CPSIA with Market Mommies, 

There is hope after last weeks round table with the HTA and Senate & House Staff Committee. There was a newly signed law Food Safety Modernization Act (FDA FSMA 111/ HR2751). Section 103 has a host of exemptions and exemption procedures for “small businesses” and “very small businesses.” So as we have been and will continue too, we are encouraging congress to write an amendment that does the same for small batch children’s product manufacturers. This needs to work!

As Reagan said,” Entrepreneurs and their small enterprises are responsible for almost all the economic growth in the United States.”

With our audience, networks and voice we can help spread the word and maybe the ‘Hill’ will start to ‘get into the business’ of helping small businesses if they want our economy to grow. There will be many companies closing in February after the 2yr ‘stay’ will be lifted on the CPSIA.

1 comment:

  1. Great Post Katie! Thanks for letting me be a part of it! :)
    Jill Chuckas
    Crafty Baby
    HTA, Board Member