Friday, January 23, 2009

The Handmade Toy Alliance

You awesome readers may not know that I have three little cousins that I adore to bits and pieces and love to play with and read to and, especially, shop for.

Did you know that on February 10th, some of their favorite things will be contraband?

Like this Cupcake Bug Tea Party by Dream a Little?


And this Superhero Cape by Her Flying Horses?


And these painfully cute pretend canned foods from Magic Cabin?

From the Handmade Toy Alliance website:
The United States Congress rightly recognized that the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) lacked the authority and staffing to prevent dangerous toys from being imported into the US. So, they passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in August, 2008. Among other things, the CPSIA bans lead and phthalates in toys, mandates third-party testing and certification for all toys and requires toy makers to permanently label each toy with a date and batch number.

All of these changes will be fairly easy for large, multinational toy manufacturers to comply with. Large manufacturers who make thousands of units of each toy have very little incremental cost to pay for testing and update their molds to include batch labels.

For small toymakers and manufacturers of children's products, however, the costs of mandatory testing will likely drive them out of business.

This is serious news, awesome readers. This means many small manufacturers and handicrafters will be driven out of business by rising costs--not to mention what will happen to the children's book industry, as stated in this open letter by Random House:

If the CPSIA is applied to paper-based books, as indicated in the advisory opinion of the CPSC General Counsel, children's book publishers, manufacturers and distributors will be confronted with several nightmarish scenarios. All existing paper-based children's books such as The Cat in the Hat, Goodnight Moon and Harry Potter as well as thousands of textbook titles—tens of millions of books—currently on the shelves of our nation's classrooms, public and school libraries, bookstores and in warehouses may simply be removed and destroyed because they cannot feasibly be tested to assure compliance with these unfounded toxicity concerns. All new paper-based books—not plastic toys in the shape of books—will be needlessly subjected to expensive and time-consuming testing that will overwhelm the few laboratories accredited for testing of actual children's toys and other children's products potentially presenting real threats of lead toxicity.

Can you imagine? If this act is carried to its fullest potential, I will have to destroy the entire library--2oo0 well-loved volumes--at the school library where I work. This is madness, awesome readers, and I was all ready to chain myself to the Central Children's Room, before I remembered that it's closed for renovations (another rant for another time).

If you love the vibrant, creative world of handmade children's toys and clothes and want to see these crafters thrive, please spread the word. Save the kids in your life from a childhood of overhyped, overbranded plastic crap!

You can read more at CPSIA Central, National Bankruptcy Day, and Fashion Incubator.


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