I don’t generally blog about politics. I’ll let you in on a little secret about me: I strongly dislike big government. Take the bailouts, for instance. Since the government’s bailing out the big companies, it is also beginning to dictate how those businesses can run their companies. Make no mistake, this will trickle down to small business.
It will trickle down to you, whether because of your business or your employer being regulated and/or taxed out of existence.
Because we aren’t able to make decisions of our own. We have to rely on government for that.
So what’s this CPSIA thing?
In a bid to “protect” us all from ourselves, meet The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). We’re not intelligent enough to figure stuff out on our own, no. We have to rely on the government to regulate everything. Every. Little. Thing.
How will this affect you? Read on for just some of the ways:
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 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 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.
For the rest of unsetting details, see the blog entry Bloggers Unite: CPSIA.
- Scrap The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (Forbes Magazine)
- Consumer Product Safety Commission’s CPSIA page
- CPSIA-Central discussion board
- The American Library Association’s letter to congress concerning CPSIA
What can YOU do?
- Contact your Congressional Representatives
- Contact your State Senators
- Contact the Consumer Product Safety Commission
- Check out the CPSIA Action Kit at Etsy, especially if you sell handmade goods
- Sign the petition for reform of CPSIA (HR-4040)
- Blog about it! Spread the word!
If you know of more good links regarding this lunacy, please send them my way.
UPDATE 2/4/2009: Tami sent me a link regarding the exclusion of second-hand merchandise. This is the reply I received from Senator Sherrod Brown:
Dear Ms. B:
Thank you for contacting me regarding H.R.4040, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, specifically provisions setting a deadline to prohibit the manufacture and sale of children’s products that contain lead and phthalates.
The negative health effects of both these substances have been extensively documented and studied. Research has found phthalates exposure linked to decreased fertility capacity in men, premature birth in women, and asthma symptoms in children. In 2005, a University of Rochester School of Medicine study found that pregnant women with high levels of phthalates in their urine were more likely to give birth to boys with birth defects.
Ingestion and inhalation of lead has long been known to cause damage to the nervous system, with young children especially vulnerable. Lead poisoning can cause blood and brain disorders, as well as gastrointestinal, reproductive, and kidney problems. Although the number of children with elevated blood lead levels has decreased over the past several decades, the treatment of lead poisoning accounts for the vast majority of the $43.4 billion spent on pediatric environmental disease.
To combat childhood exposure to these substances, Congress passed, and the President signed into law, H.R.4040 in the summer of 2008. Provisions of this law require that beginning February 10, 2009, manufacturers of children’s products cannot sell children’s products that violate lead standards or contain phthalates.
Since passage, many companies and individuals, particularly small manufacturers, have expressed concern that these requirements present a significant hardship. While they express agreement with the need to restrict lead and phthalates, they have asked for some aspects of the legislation to be re-evaluated.
I supported passage of H.R.4040 and strongly agree with the need to keep these dangerous substances away from children. The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Office of General Counsel has also concluded that products containing high lead content cannot be sold after February 10, 2009. As it relates to phthalates, Congress created a consumer product safety standard which will apply to products manufactured after February 10, 2009.
It is important to note that on January 8, 2009, the CPSC clarified this law by stating: “The new law requires that domestic manufacturers and importers certify that children’s products made after February 10 meet all the new safety standards and the lead ban. Sellers of used children’s products, such as thrift stores and consignment stores, are not required to certify that those products meet the new lead limits, phthalates standard, or new toy standards.” (Emphasis added)
As Congress further examines this issue, I will work to see that this legislation does not adversely hurt Ohio’s small business and manufacturing community. Additionally, while I am not currently a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, which has primary jurisdiction over consumer product safety, I will share concerns I have received from constituents with relevant individuals. Thank you again for contacting me.
I’m glad second-hand merchandise won’t be included in this broad-sweeping brush, but I am still very concerned how the remaining provisions will impact businesses and consumers. This is not the time to be making such detrimental reform, not with our economy in the shape it’s in.