Wednesday 28 January 2009


Bloggers unite: CPSIA Blog-in

Less than two weeks to go now to the crucial date of Feb 10, when the CPSIA comes into effect. This far-reaching act is starting to be noticed by more than just the sellers it affects directly, with coverage in some news programmes and the US national press. I agreed to do a CPSIA post today as part of a group of Etsy sellers that are affected by this law (thread is here). As it currently stands, the following extract of text will be posted on 165 blogs today, but the number is growing rapidly.

"As parents and concerned citizens I’m sure most of us at one time or another have been confronted with the question of lead poisoning. But have you asked yourself what your government is doing to protect your children from lead contained in toys? The answer? They're banning toys, taking books from schools and libraries, hurting low income families, killing entrepreneurial spirit and risking putting the economy in an even greater depression than we've seen in decades. I'd like to introduce you to their solution: the CPSIA.

Do you know about the CPSIA? No? Then I ask you to take a few minutes to find out about it.The CPSIA stands for Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, a new set of laws that will come into effect on 10 February, 2009 and will impact many, many people in a negative way. Make no mistake, this is very real. View it for yourself. If Forbes, the American Library Association and numerous other media are paying attention, perhaps you should too.

How will these new laws affect you? Well, here are a few examples:

To the Parents of Young Students:

Due to the new law, expect to see the cost of school supplies sky rocket. While those paper clips weren't originally intended for your student to use, they will need to be tested now that your 11-year-old needs them for his school project. This law applies to any and all school supplies (textbooks, pencils, crayons, paper, etc.) being used by children under 12.

To the Avid Reader:

Due to the new law, all children's books will be pulled from library and school shelves, as there is no exemption for them. That’s okay though, there's always television. Our children don’t need to learn the love of reading after all.Article from the American Library Association

To the Lover of All Things Handmade:

Due to the new law, you will now be given a cotton ball and an instruction manual so you can make it yourself since that blanket you originally had your eye on for $50 will now cost you around $1,000 after it's passed testing. It won't even be the one-of-a-kind blanket you were hoping for. Items are destroyed in the testing process making one-of-a-kind items virtually impossible. So that gorgeous hand-knit hat you bought your child this past winter won’t be available next winter.

To the Environmentalist:

Due to the new law, all items in non-compliance will now be dumped into our already overflowing landfills. Imagine not just products from the small business owners, but the Big Box Stores as well. You can't sell it so you must toss it. Or be potentially sued for selling it. You can't even give them away. If you are caught, it is still a violation.

To the Second-Hand Shopper:

Due to the new law, you will now need to spend $20 for that brand new pair of jeans for your 2-year old, rather than shop at the Goodwill for second hand. Many resale shops are eliminating children's items all together to avoid future lawsuits.

To the Entrepreneur:

Due to this new law, you will be forced to adhere to strict testing of your unique products or discontinue to make and/or sell them. Small businesses will be likely to be unable to afford the cost of testing and be forced to close up shop. Due to the current economic state, you'll have to hope for the best when it comes to finding a new job in Corporate America.

To the Antique Toy Collector:

Due to the new law, you'd better start buying now because it's all going to private collection and will no longer be available to purchase. “Because the new rules apply retroactively, toys and clothes already on the shelf will have to be thrown out if they aren't certified as safe.”

To the American Economy:

Already struggling under an economy that hasn’t been this weak in decades, the American economy will be hit harder with the inevitable loss of jobs and revenues from suppliers, small businesses and consumers. The required testing is far too costly and restrictive for small businesses or individuals to undertake.

To the Worldwide Economy:

Due to this new law, many foreign manufacturers have already pulled out of the US market. You can imagine the impact of this on their businesses.

If you think this is exaggerating, here is a recent article from Forbes:

And for those of you prepared to be stupefied and boggled, The New Law:

Did you know? If this upsets or alarms you, please react.

I'm in the UK, so why do I care enough to blog about it? Firstly, it will affect me as an international seller, although it's still unclear how... Some people say it's okay to sell to the States as we're not duty bound to comply to US law, others say that Customs will destroy items as without the requisite testing and certificates they will be deemed 'hazardous'. Unlike American sellers on Etsy, I will at least still be able to advertise my apparel as available to ship to other countries outside the States; strictly speaking I don't believe American sellers are able to export non-tested / non-certified items. I have made a lot of friends through Etsy and Craftster who will likely lose their precious and hard-earned livelihoods.

Secondly, I have family in the States that appreciate hand-crafted, independant alternatives to mass-produced goods. It makes me sad to think that my niece won't be able to flaunt her own individual style with the small batch productions offered by Etsy designers. Or add to her collection of quirky and educational toys, books and dolls.
If you would like to show your support for cause, feel free to copy any or all of the text of this post into your own blog and spread the word!


  1. I've been seeing more and more coverage of this and it's such a shame. It doesn't affect me directly but I'll link to this post when I blog later in an attempt to spread the word.

  2. thank you for taking the time to post about this. At last count, we were over 230 bloggers to participate.

  3. Thanks for joining the blog-in! If anyone is looking for more info or ways to help, Etsy has put together a fantastic CPSIA Action Kit:

  4. Thanks for highlighting this - I've just blogged about this too!

  5. I've joined in too - all the text is added to my blog

    ....spread the word! :)