UPDATE: This morning we spoke with the Deputy Director at the CPSC and he expressed the CPSC’s desire to communicate with the crafter community, whether in a Virtual Lab, podcast, or blog post. However, there’s work that needs to be done before that can happen. He will be keeping us in the loop, specifically regarding an open call for comments coming soon. In the meantime, if you have questions, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please stay tuned — we will share any info as it comes in.
[the following was originally posted December 31, 2008]
Many members of the Etsy community have been involved in spreading the word about the impact the CPSIA might have on handmade and vintage toy and children’s apparel businesses. Here at Etsy, we wrote an Open Letter about the CPSIA and invited Patricia Bittner, the Small Business Ombudsman at the Office of International Programs and Intergovernmental Affairs, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, to talk with our community in the Virtual Labs. Patricia passed on our requests to the proper people, but as of yet, not one has accepted our offer of a webchat. However, Patricia noted that the office has been getting many, many communications from small businesspeople on the topic.
The Washington Post reported on the issue in Lyndsey Layton and Annys Shin‘s article, Toymakers Assail Costs of New Law: How Consumer Protections Will Be Implemented Is Onerous, Manufacturers Say. “While toy giants such as Hasbro and Mattel began changing their materials even before the law was passed, some owners of medium and small businesses say they do not have the time — or the money — to comply with the tough new provisions.”
The Richmond Times reported small businesses’ concerns about a lack of clarity regarding the enforcement of the law. The article, New Law May Hurt Crafters At Home, conveyed the crafting community’s desire for exemptions. The newspaper noted that, according to Julie Vallese, spokeswoman for the Consumer Product Safety Commission, “There are exceptions to the testing rule for crafters making only one unique copy of each item.” Vallese also told reporter Sean Mussenden that “Small toymakers have inundated the commission with questions and complaints about the new standards.”
Cecilia, of the handmadetoyalliance.org and craftsburykids.com, is helping crafters and artisans get their voices heard. She is very active on the Alliance’s Facebook Group (join the group here). We wanted to share some updates and deadlines via Cecilia:
Midnight, this Wednesday, December 31, 2008 is the deadline for the first round of voting on the Change.org site. If you haven’t voted, please do, and pass the word on. Let’s remain in the number one spot! Here’s the link.
This coming Monday, January 5, is the deadline for comments to the CPSC. The CPSC has asked for comments regarding natural materials exemptions! This is our chance to speak directly to the CPSC and push them to include these important additions in the CPSIA/provide your personal feedback on anything that hasn’t been touched on. The CPSC statement lists the component testing deadline as January 30th: http://www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/ComponentPartsComments.pdf
The natural materials exemptions feedback/vote was due on the 5th.
The blogosphere has been spreading calls for amending the CPSIA. Here are just a few posts:
Crafting in a Green World – Geppetto in Peril
Many Etsians have been sharing information via this thread in the forums.
Read our Open Letter about the CPSIA.
We wish everyone a safe, healthy, and productive New Year. Keep up the momentum!