Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Take Action....Save Handmade

Hand crafting is a joy. I love that my grandchildren have handmade hats and stuffed animals. I love to create things for the children in the neighborhood, and know that they love these handmade heirlooms as well.

I know I am not alone in valuing handcrafted goods.

If you love handmade goods, please take action.

CPSC Stay of Enforcement - offers Hope but No Solution

February 1, 2009 -- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact:Dan Marshall, Peapods Natural Toys & Baby Care
The Handmade Toy Alliance
Tel. 651-695-5559
dan (AT) peapods.com
Stamford, CT

February 2, 2009—On Friday, January 30, 2009, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in response to numerous requests by industry organizations including the Handmade Toy Alliance, issued a stay of enforcement of several provisions of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), important provisions which were set to begin on February 10, 2009. This limited stay comes after numerous members of Congress urged the CPSC to quickly resolve unanswered issues and a coalition of 67 business associations, including the Handmade Toy Alliance, requested a delay.

Although the stay provides temporary relief for small businesses for some aspects of the new law, the unintended consequences of the CPSIA will continue to cause severe problems for many. Even with the stay, retailers and manufacturers will still face considerable challenges beginning on February 10, 2009. “The stay sends a message to Congress that work is still needed on technical amendments to the CPSIA to fix the law,” noted Dan Marshall, founder of the HTA. “I think this is good news. Not because it solves our problems, but because it gives us some breathing room to get our problems solved. Our work is far from done.” Specifically, Congress needs to take action this week to make the necessary statutory changes to halt the February 10 effective date to give the CPSC sufficient time to complete and issue comprehensive regulations on the many outstanding issues. More importantly, such a delay would give small businesses across the country the time to fully understand and comply with this complicated new product safety law."We share the goal of consumer advocates to make sure only safe childrens products are sold.” Cecilia Leibovitz of CraftsburyKids.com said. “Yet we also need clear and consistent rules in place so sellers and makers of children’s products can know how to comply with these important rules. So far, that hasn't happened."The Handmade Toy Alliance is a grassroots alliance of 289 toy stores, toymakers and children's product manufacturers from across the country, who want to preserve consumer access to unique handmade toys, clothes and children's goods in the USA. Since November of 2008, they have been working to bring awareness to the impact and unintended consequences of the CPSIA on small businesses throughout the country. “We recognize that the stay does not exempt us from the 600ppm lead limits within the CPSIA” Jill Chuckas, owner of CraftyBaby.com stated. “Nor do we want to be exempted. But it does recognize that all stakeholders need time to work together on common sense amendments and comprehensive guidance to allow our member businesses to keep doing what they love – creating beautiful, unique and safe hand crafted products for children.”

There is no reprieve, however, for small manufacturers who sell to larger retailers or catalogs, most of whom will continue to require full compliance with the CPSIA by February 10. The CPSC still has not clearly defined how manufacturers must comply with the law and many manufacturers are therefore finding it impossible to do so.

And, the stay leaves retailers in limbo. Although manufacturers will not need to prove compliance with 600ppm lead limits, retailers will still be held liable if their merchandise exceeds those limits. And, without testing, retailers will have no way to assure compliance. Also excluded from the stay is a new requirement for children's products to be tested by February 12 for small parts hazards, which will also carry significant compliance costs, especially for small manufacturers.

Members of the Handmade Toy Alliance will be attending the upcoming Toy Fair held at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City from February 15 – 18, 2009. Rob Wilson, owner of Challenge & Fun, has devoted a section of his booth (#1249) at the show for the HTA and a CPSIA discussion forum. Members of the HTA will be present to answer and discuss issues related to the CPSIA with industry colleagues and members of the press.

Jill Chuckas, Crafty Baby, Owner, Designer (Stamford, CT)
The Handmade Toy Alliance
Tel. 888-788-5168
jill (AT) craftybaby.com

Cecilia Leibovitz, PresidentCraftsbury Kids (Montpelier,VT)
The Handmade Toy Alliance
Tel. 802-223-7143
ceci (AT) craftsburykids.com

Rob Wilson, Vice President, Challenge & Fun
The Handmade Toy Alliance
Tel. 888-384-6200
hta (AT) challengeandfun.com


What can you do?

Learn more about the issues and find the text of the actual law
Sign the petition
Join the Facebook group
Share your thoughts on ETSY to gain some insight and take action
Find and write (again) to your Congressperson
Find and write (again) to your Senator
Write to the CPSC

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