04 December 2008

FYI: The USA Handmade Toy Situation

I am a collector and supporter of handmade toys. My heart is broken to know that in a few months they could be considered illegal in the USA. It's not clear what and who will be outlawed but it's an important issue that the public should be aware of because it's not been covered like it should be by the press. Here in detail is the issue (copied / pasted from the handmadetoyalliance.org website):

"In 2007, large toy manufacturers who outsource their production to China and other developing countries violated the public's trust. They were selling toys with dangerously high lead content, toys with unsafe small part, toys with improperly secured and easily swallowed small magnets, and toys made from chemicals that made kids sick. Almost every problem toy in 2007 was made in China.

The United States Congress rightly recognized that the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) lacked the authority and staffing to prevent dangerous toys from being imported into the US. So, they passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in August, 2008. Among other things, the CPSIA bans lead and phthalates in toys, mandates third-party testing and certification for all toys and requires toy makers to permanently label each toy with a date and batch number.

All of these changes will be fairly easy for large, multinational toy manufacturers to comply with. Large manufacturers who make thousands of units of each toy have very little incremental cost to pay for testing and update their molds to include batch labels.

For small American, Canadian, and European toymakers, however, the costs of mandatroy testing will likely drive them out of business.

A toymaker, for example, who makes wooden cars in his garage in Maine to supplement his income cannot afford the $4,000 fee per toy that testing labs are charging to assure compliance with the CPSIA.

A work at home mom in Minnesota who makes dolls to sell at craft fairs must choose either to violate the law or cease operations.

A small toy retailer in Vermont who imports wooden toys from Europe, which has long had stringent toy safety standards, must now pay for testing on every toy they import.

And even the handful of larger toy makers who still employ workers in the United States face increased costs to comply with the CPSIA, even though American-made toys had nothing to do with the toy safety problems of 2007.

The CPSIA simply forgot to exclude the class of toys that have earned and kept the public's trust: Toys made in the US, Canada, and Europe. The result, unless the law is modified, is that handmade toys will no longer be legal in the US.

If this law had been applied to the food industry, every farmers market in the country would be forced to close while Kraft and Dole prospered.

How You can Help:

Please write to your United States Congress Person and Senator to request changes in the CPSIA to save handmade toys. Use our sample letter or write your own. You can find your Congress Person here and Senator here."

I will continue to support, buy and collect handmade toys just like I collect vintage dolls and toys that violate todays safety standards. Honestly, I think this law does not really apply to the artists and crafters of the dolls, plushies and toys I collect -- they are really intended for adult collectors. If you are a creator you should start including a disclaimer with your creations that they are not intended for children. I'm not sure how all this will work out (it's kind of scary) but I will still buy your dolls, plushies and toys - do not worry!! Keep making your handmade toys!!

1 comment:

Annette said...

holy $%&%^*$#$& !!!

That is terrible, I can't believe it. That'd be just awful if everything changed... esp. for etsy. I had no idea. Hope you're back to healthy very soon, Gretchen.

The stamps you're working on are ridiculously cute.