Friday, December 5, 2008

Consumer Protection Safety Act

Well, this puts me outta business come February 13th, 2009. If any of you sell clothing/toys/accessories for kids (they define it as 12 and under) you may want to take a peek at this legislation. Basically, ANYONE who sells children's items (bye-bye kidgear on Etsy!) has to submit their product for testing and it includes each component separately. I sew baby slings so I would have to submitted a completed babysling (a unit) for testing for each variation that I do (ETA some changes via the comments). Let's say I sell 10 different fabrics in 10 different sizes. Each SKU number has to be tested so each color in each size have to be tested. That's 100 products that have to be submitted for testing. According to the Fashion-Incubator website tests are $450-$982 for each colorway. Talk about cost prohibitive. Non-compliance with the law can ding you with a 5,000 fine for each offense or jail time if you knowingly sell an item not tested. There is a lot of hubbub about this on another forum and they are all scared crapless that their businesses are going under. There is a lot about this on the Fashion-Incubator website.

Here's the legislation: http://www.cpsc.gov/ABOUT/Cpsia/legislation.html

This does not exclude people who make only one or two items. This does not exclude cloth diaper makers. This does not exclude exporters or importers. It's all of us. Here is a comment from the Fashion-Incubator website that I copied because it really drives the point home. Here's a link to the comment.

Maura said December 5th, 20084:59 pm
I want to add, as an artist and craftsperson who makes one of a kind items (they may be similar in design or use the same pattern, but no two use identical materials). If I were to be able to comply with the requirements, I would have to make two identical items, let’s say dolls, which individually take 5-6 hours to produce, then submit one for destruction in the process of testing. I would then have to work the testing fee into the price of the doll.
That would cause the dolls to cost well over (many times over) what I would charge for them, and would place them outside the reach of most people for a child’s cloth doll.
I think that artisans have simply been forgotten in the process of writing the law.

11 comments:

Daisy said...

From my reading of the CPSIA, it seems that Section 102 only deals with "imported" products. I wonder if, in practice, it will be applied to domestic items such as fabric, thread, etc., that is manufactured here and has already been subject to consumer testing.

Esther said...

Actually the testing is required per SKU - style, color, size combo. Each component that makes up the style is tested as part of the completed unit. It is a subtle difference, but very important because it will escalate the cost significantly. Also no difference for domestic manufacturers versus imported.

-E said...

i feel a letter-writing campaign coming on...

Alex said...

That's ridiculous! Will you still be able to make stuff and ship to Canada? I hope one day to be able to purchase a sling from you when I have a baby!

Kathleen said...

Hi Dawn, I'm hoping you can correct your entry in the matter of component testing as Esther said two comments ago. This is extremely important and not a minor detail. The link explaining the difference btwn unit (what's required) and component (not acceptable) testing is here: http://www.fashion-incubator.com/archive/cpsia-unit-vs-component-testing/

I'm reading comments from people all over the web who "read" the cpsia and interpret it through their subjective lens who think we are getting bent out of shape for nothing because the law doesn't apply to us according to _insert whatever item they have misinterpreted or misunderstood because they don't get that a rule and regulation is not the same thing as the law they are reading_.

If we are saying something else, the conclusion is not that we are stupid or fear mongers and that you are so much more clever to read that law in whatever way we were unable to understand; it's that you're missing something. So please, stop mucking things up around the web (commenters) if you don't know what you're talking about. All you do is commit a disservice by spreading more mythinformation. Here's an entry I wrote for the mythmakers:

http://nationalbankruptcyday.com/?p=57

Unless the law or regulations are changed, it is not an exaggeration to say a lot of people are in for a world of hurt; many more than anyone imagines.

Mary said...

That's why I'm for less government ...

Myra said...

What would make more sense is to make sure that manufacturers of the raw products (fabric, snaps, buttons, etc.) are doing their job right since it is their items we are using. This is absolutely ludicrous. Do they not have anything better to do with their time or are they just too afraid to go after the real instigators of this mess (i.e., foreign countries) that do not hold up to qc standards? I mean, Walmart and the Dollar Stores can sell things that are "bad" and are loaded with these things, but we don't see them having to pull them off the shelves. There was an article about toys this Christmas may be tainted despite earlier events. Also the formula incident over Thanksgiving, but it is still "safe" to give.

Gwen said...

Wow - I don't completely understand all the details (and it seems like there might be some confusion on some of the details), but this sounds very serious and scary... :(

I'll try to learn more about it - thanks for the heads up.

angie.a said...

I've been making wooden toys & OOAK garments for more than 10 years. This one put me out of business too. I wrote my congressman, but he had very little to say in way of support (just Bad Bad China, we must act!)

Hilary Baumann said...

This is the sad state of our government regulations. Though I'm not sure what the exact interpretation of this proposed law is going to end up being, if it is going to end up as you say I can see people starting to sell lifesize "doll" clothes to avoid having to comply.

Don't get me started on the stupid almond pasteurization law that was passed this fall...

Government sometimes seems to go for a blanket "simple" solution that covers their major problems without looking at the big picture or how it might have ramifications for the people who AREN'T causing the problems.

Anonymous said...

What you are saying is correct. This will hurt all of us. I work for a large American Made Private Label Company. We have been following this very closely and several things are happening at this time. The American Association for textiles has requested modification and blanket to certify 100 percent cotton at this time. Please write your congressman and senators and explain to them ther will be no small businesses left if this goes through the way it has been written. It is not too late to get this ammended. It will take a lot of letter writing to the people who can help us. They will listen if enough people get to them. the company I work for started in a garage 40 years ago. That would not have happened with this law. I believe in green and no lead in childres products. We have not used lead in this industry in over 14 years whebn the first no lead act was signed in 1994.