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Wednesday, January 7

Homecrafters to turn into criminals under new law

Microbusinesses that lovingly create handmade items for children will become illegal manufacturers of "hazardous substances" overnight thanks to a new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.

This law includes hand-knitted, quilted and hand-sewn clothes, wooden toys and the myriad of other products for children which traditionally have been sold by arts-and-crafts shops countrywide for decades. These are usually produced by cash-strapped people at home.

She says that even granny's home-made quilts sold in the local arts-and-crafts shop won't be exempt from this new law. Also disastrous is the fact that thousands of tons of these often exquisitely-handcrafted products in the pre-existing stock of shops also will have to be dumped as contraband which under this law will be deemed to contain 'banned, hazardous substances' after February 10 -- because the Act is retroactive. Each product will have be tested at huge cost and produce a certificate of compliance before it can be sold. Handcrafters say they can't afford this huge price-tag of $4,000 for each test.

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Manufacturers -- all these microbusinesses included -- will have to obtain a certificate of compliance: anyone who makes clothing, toys etc regardless of volume, needs to have each and every component tested by a CPSC-accredited laboratory at huge cost for each individual product.

"This includes not just toys, but clothing, jewelry, blankets, sheets, books, bibs, strollers, carriers, and anything else that a child younger than 12 might come in contact with," she said.

"These tests have to be done at a CSPC accredited lab, and cost as much as $4,000 with an average of around $500. So for me, I offer three different types of dresses. Each dress contains two different fabrics, as well as buttons, and thread (each of which needs to be tested), so that’s potentially $2,000 to test one dress. But I have three styles, so that’s $6,000.

And when I get a new bolt of fabric, I need to start all over again. I can only make 15 dresses from one bolt, so there is no way I could make the testing financially feasible".

She agrees wholeheartedly that the children must be protected from harmful chemicals. "However this law, as it is currently written, will affect handmade toy and apparel makers - the very people many of us turn to for safe toys, clothing and decor for our children." Continued
Wonderful. And it won't be long before all handmade items for sale by artisans and crafters will go under such scrutiny perhaps because a child might come in contact with it. As a designer of handmade specialty items for the past 20 odd years, most of us take special care to use only the finest supplies and ingredients and I only buy products that are certified lead free before I use them in my projects. It's not like I want to work with dangerous products in the first place, so why would I want to sell them? That is why so many people buy handmade items. duh.

Now they want us to even have bolts of fabric that we use tested? Why is it not tested before it goes to market in the first place? Shouldn't I be able to trust companies that sell me jewelry components and say that they are lead free be enough without my having to spend thousands to have them tested?

I wonder, who pray tell is going to regulate the absolute crap that comes to us from China and other crappy countries? Why should it be the responsibility of home business crafters to be sure that the supplies we use which are manufactured by big businesses be safe? Will these regulations even force manufacturers to go out of business?

Even if I were to grow cotton or raise sheep and silkworms to make my own fabric from scratch for my microbusiness, it would cost me thousands before I could even sell it. This act will hurt many people in America whose businesses are what makes the mortgage payment or rent each month. It's not good to kill the entrepreneurial spirit which made this country great in the first place.

How to object to this Act
Lodge objections no later than January 30 2009 to the Consumer Product Safety Commission's Office of the Secretary, email Sec102ComponentPawrtsTesting@cpsc.gov . They can be faxed to (USA) 301 504-0127

Snailmail:
The Office of the Secretary,
Consumer Product Safety Commission,
Room 502, 4330 East-West Highway,
Bethesda, Maryland 20814 US.
Comments should be captioned: Section 102 Mandatory Third-Party Testing of Component Parts'

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