Monday, January 5, 2009

The Sky IS Falling

Today, I am angry, and not sure that makes for good blogging. Or, maybe it does. I am angry because instead of giving me a two-week severance pay, my employer graciously is allowing me to work for two more weeks to receive my last pay, so that I am not free during work days to go looking for a new situation until AFTER I am bumped out in the cold.

And that I received a raise at the beginning of December from our November review period. And the email that circulated in mid-December that said, while the economy is rough and we have to "make some fiscally responsible decisions" ..."we will still be able to have our annual holiday party and to give all bonuses, although they will be reduced from previous years."

Which part of that should have prepared me to pack my bags? Did I miss it between the glowing review, the raise, and the bonus? Is it like the movie theatre and I was being sent subliminal messages?

What other reason am I angry? Because a new phase of a new law is going into effect on FEBRUARY 9, called the CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008) that will eradicate all the products for children under 12 that I have chosen to purchase and support.

Here is an excerpt from the "about" page:
In August 2008, President Bush signed into law the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), which requires manufacturers of domestic and imported children’s products, including books and other printed products, to test and certify their products to ensure they meet specific lead and phthalate (e.g., plasticizers that could be found in inks, coatings, and adhesives) content limits established by the CPSIA.

The third date of February 10, 2009 does affect children’s products made from paper, as it will limit the total lead content in children’s products to no more than 600 parts-per-million (ppm) and prohibit the manufacture and sale of children’s toys containing more than 0.1% of certain phthalates. It also requires manufacturers of children’s products to test and certify their products. The lead content limit will lower to 300 ppm beginning August 14, 2009. The CPSIA defines a “children’s product” as a “consumer product designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger.” The legislation, therefore, has the potential to affect a broad range of children’s printed good products, such as books, menus, certain toys packaging, etc.

What does this mean? This means that the work from home handcrafters of items for children will no longer be able to sell their items AND I WILL NO LONGER BE ABLE TO MAKE MY OWN CHOICES ABOUT PRODUCTS FOR MY CHILD because there will be no venue in which I might purchase any of the items I have grown to love from sellers on ETSY and other places like it.

These small sellers will not be able to afford the testing, and thus, will be unable to complay with the law, and with fines up to $100,000 for violations, they will simply cease to exist. These are the products that do not even contain harmful chemicals or lead, which is why I did my research and chose to purchase them in the first place. Now, I will have to buy from mass production imports or make everything myself.

I will no longer be able to make those thrilling thrift store finds of anything for children because thrift stores will not be able to resell any items that do not have the testing labels and certifications. How many people keep tags intact before they donate to charity? On February 9, all items IN ALL STORES EVERYWHERE IN THE U.S. that do not comply must be discarded, and cannot be sold. I realize that most (okay, many) stores/sellers may not even know about the law, and of cours all will not comply, and the enforcement [committee?] cannot possibly find and punish all, but I think it will be far-reaching enough to hurt.

See the article excerpt from Change.org:
The CPSIA simply forgot to exclude the class of toys that have earned and kept the public's trust. The result, unless the law is modified, is that handmade children's products will no longer be legal in the US.

The writers of this law certainly did not anticipate that they would wreck the sales of Suzy so-and-so and her cute clippy hair bows, or Hank and his hand carved wood puzzle, or that they would prevent people who rely on thrift stores to clothe their children from being able to purchase needed clothing and supplies.

The law will most definitely be revised, AND REVISED, AND REVISED again, but how soon? How many will be hurt along the way?

Search CPSIA and Handmade Alliance to find out what you might be able to do to save your ability to make your own choices for your own family.
Look here, here, here, and here to find out how it is not just about toys, but ALL PRODUCTS OF ANY TYPE FOR CHILDREN UNDER 12.

Go to Change.org and vote to Save Handmade Toys form the CPSIA.

The End.

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