CALL TO ACTION!
Have you heard about the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act? I hadn't, or at least I thought I hadn't. I recall reading there was legislation developed in response to the discovery of lead paint used on children's toys imported from China. Sounded like a reasonable plan. We should have know that our government would not create a resasonable law though. I didn't read the legislation. Turns out most of the lawmakers who passed the legislation probably didn't read it either. In the Senate only 3 voted against it and in the House only 1.
The law calls for the testing of every component of a product manufactured and sold for children. It still sounds relatively reasonable until you start to think of how many component a single item might contain.
I recall buying Tanner a pair of hand made, patchwork pants when he was tiny. They were adorable and I loved being able to support the business of a mom trying to eke out a living while staying home with her child. Those pants had at least ten different kinds of fabric. They had an elastic waistband and were sewn with a single color of thread. Each component costs $75 to test. That means the pants would have cost $900 to test. They were one of a kind and I paid $20 for them.
This seems like an extreme example but what about a handknit sweater. Every single color of yarn and button would have to be tested. If that sweater is sold in 5 different sizes each size would have to be tested as well. It becomes prohibitive pretty fast.
It's not just new products that have to be tested either. Thrift stores, consignment stores, and ebay are not exempt at this point. Do you love to pick up childrens books at the thrift store to alter? Not under the new law. There is no exemption for items created before the law. It's retroactive.
The law doesn't seem to be limited to just childrens clothing and toys. It also includes household items. For those manufacturers and retailers who can afford the testing you know they won't generously absorb the costs. All of those costs will be passed right on to us, the consumers.
I'm not often moved to contact my legislators but today I will. Every single one of them. Please take the time to educate yourself about this law and contact your legislator as well. The contact information can be found here. Write a letter, make a phone call, tell your friends.
I'd like to believe I have completely misunderstood this law but I don't think so. It seems to be getting some press now and maybe it will be modified some how but I cannot imagine that it will be stopped and approached more rationally.