Monday, January 12, 2009

Updates on CPSIA Madness

The other day I came across this article, and nearly had a heart attack. I'm already overwhelmed and in disbelief about how the CPSIA will affect, well, everything when it goes into effect on Feb 10, next month. But I hadn't thought about children's books. Oh dear Lord, the books. Could they really demand that ALL used books be thrown away if not tested for lead?!? What would that mean for public libraries, and used book stores, not to mention children and literacy? I mean, EGADS!! It's mind-boggling.

Thankfully as of January 8 the Consumer Product Satefy Commission clarified that second-hand stores will be exempt from CPSIA regulations. PHEW! Now, they're not in the clear yet-- any items that are "likely to contain lead" may not be sold. This means anything that's got paint on it, for example. So while books and natural-fabric cloth should be ok (hmm, but what about the dyes?), many items will still be considered illegal to sell even used. I'm not sure what this means for public libraries still. Turns out none of that is set. The press release states a "clarification," but the National Industry of Resale and Thrift Shops isn't appeased (neither is the public)and is waiting for a definitive ruling on the matter (along with actual, clear guidelines).

Of course then I read about how the CPSIA regulations will effectively mean cultural genocide for Native Americans, as they will no longer be able to make and sell one-of-a-kind traditional outfits for children. Way to go.

Yet another issue that's come to light is all the millions of dollars worth of merchandise sitting in store shelves and warehouses currently, which will retroactively be required to show certification of testing for lead, pthalates, etc, but will be nearly impossible to test or show. These items will be illegal to sell, and will have to be trashed... even though they're brand new, and ost of them perfectly safe. What a great way to help boost the economy, indeed.

There's talk of making exemptions for particular materials which are highly unlikely to contain lead, and for one-of-a-kind items, BUT nothing has actually happened yet. So it's all still just... talk. And these new regulations will go into effect in less than a month.

WHAT YOU CAN DO
If you have just 2 spare minutes:
-Use this link to just fill in your name and send an automated email to your senators and state representatives.
-Vote on Change.org. The top 10 ideas will be presented to President-Elect Obama on Janaury 16. (You have to sign up, but it takes 2 seconds, literally)
-Send a message to Cheryl Falvey, General Counsel of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
-Put a "Save Handmade!" button on your blog.
-Send an email, or just forward this blog post or any of these links to everyone you know who would care or be affected by this.

If you have 15 minutes:
-Join the mail-in protest.
-Print out this letter template and send it to your senators, representatives, and any or all of the following members of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, who sponsored the CPSIA:

The Hon. Henry A. Waxman, Chairman
Committee on Energy and Commerce
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Hon. Joe Barton, Ranking Member
Committee on Energy and Commerce
2322-A Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Hon. Bobby Rush, Chairman
Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Hon. Ed Whitfield, Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection
2322-A Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for publicizing this! May I also suggest visiting the War Room for up to the minute updates and focused activism? http://bit.ly/3SFN. There's also the automated mailer to email legislators in one fell swoop. http://tinyurl.com/5hloos. Lastly, we are asking people to fill out the Economic Impact Survey http://bit.ly/Cdwv. The latter link also includes every CPSIA entry published on Fashion-Incubator.com

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  2. This is crazy. I fread about it yesterday and have been meaning to blog about it! I hope the libraries remain open to childreb under 12.

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  3. Absolutely amazing blog! The more we get the word out the better!

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