Monday, January 31, 2011

Make-It Mondays: Navigating CPSIA law

Are these lovable nubbins, created by our very own KiraArts...dangerous?

If you make handmade products for children PLEASE read this. If you make products for teens and up well...... breathe a sigh of relief.

Since 2007, toys and other products for children have come under heavy scrutiny. After lead and other dangerous chemicals were found in many toys outsourced to China for production, the United States created an act to prevent that from happening again. That is the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). This act regulates any product made for persons under the age of 12. It requires testing, certification and labeling of all such items, which can cost upwards to $4,000!

That's easy for the big toy companies. Insanely difficult though, no scratch that, IMPOSSIBLE for most small, handmade toy businesses. It is especially unfair, because the dangerous toys came from manufacturing plants and companies that had nothing to do with them. Independent, homegrown makers seemingly have two choices: quit all together or carry on illegally at their own risk.

There was an Etsy forum dedicated strictly to CPSIA discussions. This has now moved to an official team page called Keeping Up With The CPSIA. Their discussion threads are public and voice many of the concerns Etsians have, along with updates on the act. These updates are of utmost importance, since they communicate stays (or holds) on regulations and specific item regulations.

Are there solutions for those who want to continue following their passion to sell children's items on Etsy and at local art markets? Here are some ideas...

1. Don't state outright that your product is for children if you don't have to for now. Anyone going in to catch you on this act could hit a gray area trying to prove certain products are specifically for children.

2. Have a disclaimer at local shows and markets. Clearly label if your work is not CPSIA regulated at your booth. This puts some ownership on the buyer.

3. Inform the public about CPSIA. Put a pamphlet out at shows explaining what CPSIA is. Leave links on your blogs and shop items. Many people want to buy quality, handmade goods for their kids and will be upset to find out they may not be able to in the near future.

4. Contact your local, state and federal government about your concerns. Those affected have to be the voice of change.

You can access every nook, cranny and change of the act on the US Consumer Product Safety Commission government website. There is detailed information from the makers side about CPSIA on The Handmade Toy Alliance website. Etsy also created a CPSIA Action Kit for sellers.

This is important for ALL Etsy sellers and the buyers who want what we can create. Spread the word!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Carol so much for being able to have an objective eye for doing this post!

    I just read today that the stay of enforcement has been pushed from February 10th, 2011 to December 31st, 2011. Good news for this year, but it doesn't solve the problem. Changes still need to be made to the law to allow us handmade toymakers to continue selling our work. Let's spread the word that Handmade needs to be saved from the CPSIA!

    PS: Random funny thought...the Nubbins picture you chose reminds me of a police mug shot!