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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.

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