CPSIA Update: The Ever-Expanding Impact

A friend forwards the following e-mail from an acquaintance who has volunteered at Community Homestead, a farm/occupational center in Wisconsin for adults with disabilities. The young woman writes:

As you may know, 4 years ago I spent my summer working at an organic farm that did lifesharing work with people with disabilities. It was the best environment I have ever seen for adults with disabilities, doing valuable work, forming lasting relationships, and giving back to their community. Right now, that community is in danger due to new testing laws for toy manufacture (how the farm supports itself through the winter months) which will put countless independent businesses, particularly of hand crafted toys, out of business. If you want to learn more about this, you can read the e-mail below, but if not, please take one moment to go to this website http://www.handmadetoyalliance.org/ and sign the petition. It will take less than a minute and could make a huge difference for this amazing community.

So add the developmentally disabled to the long list of groups affected by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act — or rather, people, individuals, deprived of opportunity and activity because of “consumer activists” and Congress.

She appends an email from Community Homestead:

Please take time to read this. It is critical to our future here at
Community Homestead. Please forward and inform anyone who will help us here.

Recently we became aware of a law which will be enacted on Feb 10th 09. 
(CPSIA) This law as it stands effectively stops us producing toys for 
children. No more puzzles, swords, shields, aprons, perhaps boxes and 
wall -hangings.
The law requires that each toy be tested “per batch” by an independent 
lab. The labs I spoke to were not even sure how they would do this for 
one of a kind toys and even if they could, this would cost us at least 
$800- $1400 as each color, plus the wood, glue, plus the top coat must 
be sampled. Same goes for the other items-each one requires its own 
certificate of testing. This is needed even though I have copies of 
safety tests for all those materials provided by the manufacturer that 
paints etc that show they are safe for the lead and toxin levels required.
Our people with special needs have become artists over the past 10 
years, lovingly creating puzzles and toys that they know will go to 
children all over the USA. We have map on our wall which shows all the 
places we have sent our puzzles and many emails from delighted parents. 
How we fulfill the artistic and vocational needs of our people without 
any income to put back into the materials is unimaginable. And that is 
just puzzles. How we make up the loss of income which helps pay for the 
operation of Community Homestead and its services is another question in 
the light of a shifting economy and tough funding.
Effectively, this law puts out of business all small toy manufacturers 
who make one of a kind items. (Rock-on mass production) Think about the 
craft fairs you have attended and now eliminate all hand made items for 
children. It also puts in jeopardy retailers who specialize in hand 
crafted items who need to shift to large companies and toys made 
overseas (ironically).
Here is what we want you to do. Click the link to below. Use the 
navigation bar on the left of their website to sign the online petition. 
Please take the time to Click How you can help and email the CPSC and 
contact your govt representative. I hate to sound panicked but… 
Please do something!

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Tristan Benz says:

    I found your page via Overlawyered.com

    I just emailed ARC – we ought to be contacting all groups that represent those with physical / mental challenges who rely on work now negatively impacted by CPSIA. This is yet one more “unintended consequence” that deeply disturbs me.

    For a list of sites / blogs fighting CPSIA (that will help you get up-to-speed quickly and get involved), please visit the blogs of Whimsical Walney and Polkadot Patch (just google them!).

    Also, my blog features some of the deeper reasons ALL CITIZENS and PARENTS should be getting involved in protest of CPSIA legislation. I encourage folks to stop by here, as well. http://www.tristansepinion.blogspot.com (the current post is funny but the previous several are a real call to action – much more serious stuff).

    I will put a link to this story up – very important to raise awareness on behalf of those who deserve not to be faced woth yet one more obstacle…

    Warmest Regards,
    Tristan Benz
    Maiden America

  • […] Community Homestead is a center for developmentally disabled adults in rural Wisconsin that has sold residents’ handcraft toys. Its CPSIA story is here. […]

  • Sarah says:

    Don’t forget it is NOT JUST TOYS, it’s ANY item used, on, for, by or MIGHT APPEAL TO a child under 12.

    I’m physically disabled and my home based crafts of collectible plush is how I pay my energy bill each month.

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