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Thursday, January 29, 2009

CPSIA ** Urgent Attention**

PLEASE, PLEASE Call your congressman!!!

Guilt Free Hsing Site:

Bloggers Against CPSIA

I'm adding my voice to the throng of bloggers writing about the CPSIA today. If you don't know what the CPSIA is, come out from under your rock and Google it [or go here for a good place to start] -- but do it after you read my post, because you'll be following so many rabbit trails of articles that you won't remember to come back here.

Most of the people I have spoken to about this nasty, vile piece of legislational effluvia think:
1) If it is truly a dumb bill, it won't be passed into law. (News flash--it ALREADY IS law; it takes effect Feb 10, 2009)
2) It won't affect me personally. (Wanna bet?)
3) I can't do anything about it. (Wanna bet?)
Wrong on all counts! Tell one more person, write your own blog post, sign a petition, and/or notify your Congressmen. You will be affected by this, whether from rising prices on all merchandise or from stores and businesses shutting down in your area. When enough people speak up, the voices cannot be ignored.

I used to crochet baby blankets for a crisis pregnancy center -- gotta stop that. They will no longer be able to give the blankets away. My lap-warming winter hobby just evaporated. I cut up old blue jeans into quilt pieces for a church group that makes denim quilts. Hmmm... that may come to an end, too, if they donate their quilts to needy children.

No more craft fairs or church bazaars, no yard sales or thrift shops. Those "businesses" can still deal in items for the over-12-years-old crowd, but it's the children's items that are their bread-and-butter. Without the high turnover of kids' stuff, most resellers will have to close. And the retailers who specialize in children's clothing, toys, books, or furniture? Kiss 'em goodbye. After they are forced to destroy their entire current inventory, they won't be able to afford to restock with approved items. That new stock will be prohibitively higher in price to cover the cost of testing, resulting in reduced sales to customers. The families who depended on resellers for bargain prices will no longer have that option, but neither will they be able to afford new purchases at higher prices. Oh, and in case you were thinking you could just give your children's outgrown things to another family, that will be illegal, too, as of 2-10-2009. Unless you want to pay to have each item tested first. It's a vicious cycle. And the ripples on this pond just keep coming.

No cottage industry or mom-and-pop business will be able to afford the required testing or the exorbitant fines for noncompliance: $100,000! Whistleblowers (read: disgruntled employees) have already been guaranteed safety and anonymity. Pleading ignorance of the law has never helped anyone: the fines will still be levied, and in some cases will be accompanied by up to five years' jail time.

What about those fancy, handmade European toys--won't they become even more popular? Many foreign manufacturers have already begun pulling out of American markets. They can't afford the testing or don't want the hassle.

What about new products and new designers? Here at Guilt-Free Homeschooling, I have several projects in various stages of development, from drawing board ideas to prototypes. I was planning some great educational tools and learning aids, but all of my plans have had to be put on hold until this law gets sorted out. I'm sure I'm not the only one. I'm just grateful that none of my projects had already been manufactured and are not sitting in inventory to be destroyed! And believe me -- I came thisclose!

After February 10th, child-safe items are supposed to carry a seal of approval, but I can't tell you what it will look like. I wandered through the toy aisles of a major department store recently -- I could find nothing that indicated any toys were already approved or bearing this certification. I haven't found any records online about it, other than it will be required as a permanent mark on each item (not as a label or hang-tag). I can only wonder if each individual child's sock will be imprinted, and each shoestring, and every elastic ponytail holder, and every single Lego brick? According to the wording of the CPSIA, they should be. The packaging is not considered a sufficient place for the seal; it is to be marked on the item itself.

By the way, do you know a child with an upcoming birthday? Have you purchased your gifts yet? You have less than 2 weeks to do your shopping, before those shelves get emptied and all of the merchandise is destroyed. Not put on Clearance -- destroyed. Like the landfills aren't overflowing already.

Wait--I nearly forgot to mention books! And you're right: children's books already don't contain lead or hazardous chemicals. But that doesn't matter -- all items intended for children are subject to this law and must be retested to prove their safety, regardless of previous regulations. So your local public library will either have to dump every children's book or ban children from admittance. Banning children under 12 will probably be the most effective way of complying with this law, because the kiddies will just find other books to read if the children's section is suddenly empty. Does your local elementary school have its own library? Dump the books. Do the classrooms have shelves of books? Ditto. And the same goes for book stores and publishers of books and materials intended for children, schools, and homeschoolers. Maybe it's just as well--reading and reasoning are dangerous skills for the subjects of an out-of-control government to possess.

Tell one more person about the CPSIA, write your own blog post, sign a petition, and/or notify your Congressmen. When enough people speak up, the voices cannot be ignored.

CPSIA Call Henry Waxman

CPSIA- don't let up on Waxman

202-225-4099- Henry Waxman's fax number

contact info for Waxman

Washington, D.C. Office:
2204 Rayburn House Office Building,
District of Columbia 20515-0530
Phone: (202) 225-3976
Fax: (202) 225-4099

Los Angeles Office: (more district offices)

8436 West 3rd Street, Suite 600
Los Angeles, California 90048
Phone: (323) 651-1040
Fax: (323) 655-0502

Here are the locations of current labs certified to do the lead testing Congress requires. There are none north and west of Texas. Along the south-eastern coastal states from Louisiana to Delaware there is one in Georgia.

(a) there aren't enough labs in the US for third party testing for lead in paint
(b) information on nearby labs is difficult to obtain.

Comic books- a seller realizes what this could mean to him. I think he's mistaken about the collectibles- I bet they'll be exempt. And an argument could be made that most comic books are for more mature readers. But any comics for children 12 and under are on the chopping block. If they're still bound as they were when I was a child reading the comic book illustrated classics, they are generally stapled (as are Weekly Reader magazines- and Waxman forbade the Commission to exempt books 'with metal components.'

The brilliant and dedicated Kathleen Fasanella, who is nice to me even though I keep getting her last name wrong, says:

In the meantime, the best thing you can do is to hold Waxman accountable. Conversely, the best way to do that is to contact your legislators and tell them to write Waxman a letter. This puts him on notice that his peers are onto him. .

I explained my thoughts on the importance of calling Waxman and calling your reps to ask them to speak to Waxman here and here. Also here.

I am intrigued by this comment left to the first post:

the person at the Ombudsman's office told me to read your article-you were right on in calling out Waxman and Rush on their letter. He said we all need to do that and he said we need to demand Waxman and Rush to "support a particular regulatory outcome" -what does this mean? He mentioned it was a faster way to have the amendment move to pass.

He also said the Cheif Legal Council did not believe everything in the Jan. 16 Waxman/Rush letter was truthful.

Somebody at the Ombudsman's office knew about me and that post? Little ol' me?
That's, um, mind-blowing to an introverted home-body like me (I told my kids recently I could almost be agoraphobic, and, in unison, they said, "Almost?!")

Tristan at Maiden America pointed out in those comments that "any law that takes a nation by surprise cannot possibly have been born of the will of the people!"

In a letter ordering the Commission to make the ban on phthalates retroactive, members of Congress claimed,

"Consumers may erroneously believe that dangerous products will be removed from store shelves once the CPSIA takes effect; that will not be the case if this analysis is allowed to stand."

Consumer Protection groups, maybe- but regular consumers for the most part neither know nor care what phthalates are or when the CPSIA takes effect.

Here's more from the text of that letter to Nord:

It is not practical to require consumers who wish to avoid phthalates to contact individual toy manufacturers to learn when a specific product was manufactured and whether it contains phthalates. That is precisely why the authors of this legislation specified in clear terms that the prohibition would apply to all inventory sold after February 10, 2009.

This interpretation of this clearly-worded statute is contrary to the plain language of the Act. It also contravenes the understanding shared by those who authored this legislation and participated in conference committee negotiations. We urge you to immediately overturn this decision. Thank you for your consideration, and we look forward to your timely response.

Best regards,

Dianne Feinstein Henry Waxman
United States Senator Member of Congress

Janice D. Schakowsky Diana DeGette
Member of Congress Member of Congress

As you see, it is disingenuous of Congress Critters to tell us the Commission has 'full authority' to say what they like about the CPSIA, and that the Congress Critters themselves cannot help.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Haven't posted in a while.......

It's been such a long time since I have posted anything on here....we have had so much going on that I just don't find much time to blog. But here is what's happening, we are in the process of moving soon to our property and new house, YIPPEE!!! We had a wonderful Christmas with our family. On New Years we went back home and then over to South Carolina to see my BIL and SIL and hubby's Mom. We haven't seen them in 8 yrs.
We have had a lott of cold weather here and I actually love the colder weather. We we're in an accident 3 weeks ago , the 3 boys and I...don't know what it is with my oldest son and hitting terrains? LOL, but we did survive!!! We are packing and trying to get all the things we need to get done with the land, so we can start with the house...Today we went to the chiropractor with the 2 younger boys and they feel better already!!! My youngest grandson will be 1 yrs old the 28th of January so we are planning a big blowout for his big day!!!! Soon I will be posting some pic's...and I got my haircut- my girls say Im stuck in the 70's, Oh My!!!