I'm posting this here so it's available for others who want to take my words and send them out to their own contacts. This is probably my last blog post on this issue (unless I hear good news between now and Feb 10)-- I figure by now all my readers have been made aware, those who are going to act have done so, and there's not much more me talking about it will do. I will continue to contact Congress about this, but with this last email I think I've done what I can to reach out to others. I hope the chain of information will continue to broaden from here.
Subject: New Law Will Ban Children from Libraries starting Feb 10, 2009
Sadly, this is no joke. In just a few weeks libraries could be closed to children. I don't usually send mass-emails like this to everyone in my contact list, but I feel this issue has such importance as to need to reach everyone possible. PLEASE read on below.
In August 2008 the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) passed a new law, the Consumer Product Safety Inspection Act (CPSIA). This law will go into effect on Feb 10, 2009, and requires that ALL products intended for use by kids 12 and under (toys, clothes, books, bedding, etc) must go through third-party lab testing to check for lead and pthalate content. Without a certificate showing that the item passed, it will be illegal to sell that product. This testing can cost from $100 to $4,000 and more per item. This law is also retroactive, meaning all items on store shelves as of Feb 10, 2009, will require a certificate... even though they were made way before then. As a result,
- Thousands of childrens toy-, clothes-, book-, etc-makers who can't afford the testing will have go out of business, from medium-sized manufacturers and retailers to mom and grandmas knitting baby caps in their home for supplemental income. (That'll help our unemployement rate!)
- Millions of dollars of inventory sitting on store shelves and in warehouses will be deemed illegal to sell unless it is all sent to labs and tested (costing millions, and taking who-knows-how-long). No wonder many are calling Feb 10 National Bankruptcy Day!
- Library books are included, meaning libraries will either have to pull all their childrens' books off the shelves or ban children 12 and under from entering their doors.
- This law will effectively ban therapy aids for children and the disabled.
- It will be illegal to sell children's items at garage sales (unless you have a certificate showing that it's been properly tested for lead).
And that's just a sampling. As a mother, of course I want our children's toys to be as safe as possible. Unfortunately this law goes WAY overboard, punishing those who have never caused problems to begin with (manufacturers here in the US). As a result the only toy makers left will be huge companies whose toys come from China (the one place tainted toys HAVE come from). Oh, and our children's literacy will suffer from the disappearance of public libraries. The Handmade Toy Alliace, among others, has offered up common-sense ideas for how to amend the CPSIA so that our children can be safe, yet also keep businesses aflaot (for example, following standards like those already created by the EU, which are widely respected among the globe and provide safe toys for their children, rather than us trying to re-invent the wheel).
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Click this link (or copy and paste the code below) to send an automated letter to your state senators and representative.
You can also go here to vote to have this issue presented to President Obama after his inauguration. And, you can forward this email to everyone you know. If you want to find out more about the CPSIA, see the links listed below. I have more to share for those who are interested, and am happy to try to answer questions to the best of my ability: mightymarce at gmail dot com
The Handmade Toy Alliance
Cool Mom Picks: Save Handmade!
CPSIA: Info Page
National Bankruptcy Day
ALA Urges Congress to Correct Law that Inadvertently Targets libraries, Publishers
Blog Post: On Lead and the CPSIA
Blog Post: Ray of Sunshine- CPSIA Update
New Times: Don't Touch That Book!
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope you'll take the extra minute or 2 to help spread the word about this law and its effects.