That’s why we find the latest efforts to keep our children safe by the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) alarming, as it will actually prevent safe, natural toys from small companies from reaching the US market.
[social_buttons]Due to under staffing at the CPSC and the flurry of toy recalls that have occurred, the agency passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in August, 2008. At first glance, this seems like good legislation, as it 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. Such requirements will be easy to fund for large toy companies; however, small independent natural toy companies will not be able survive these extra requirements. According to the Handmade Toy Alliance:
For small American, Canadian, and European toymakers, however, the costs of mandatroy[sic] testing will likely drive them out of business.
- A toymaker, for example, who makes wooden cars in his garage in Maine to supplement his income cannot afford the $4,000 fee per toy that testing labs are charging to assure compliance with the CPSIA.
- A work at home mom in Minnesota who makes dolls to sell at craft fairs must choose either to violate the law or cease operations.
- A small toy retailer in Vermont who imports wooden toys from Europe, which has long had stringent toy safety standards, must now pay for testing on every toy they import.
- And even the handful of larger toy makers who still employ workers in the United States face increased costs to comply with the CPSIA, even though American-made toys had nothing to do with the toy safety problems of 2007.
The CPSIA simply forgot to exclude the class of toys that have earned and kept the public’s trust: Toys made in the US, Canada, and Europe. The result, unless the law is modified, is that handmade toys will no longer be legal in the US.
According to Z Recommends, Selecta, one of my favorite German wooden toymakers, has already announced they will no longer sell toys in the US.
Selecta manufactures toys that comply with strict EU regulations for phthalates and other potentially harmful chemicals, but cites the cost of new testing as the reason it can no longer supply the U.S. market. The company claims that prices would be forced upwards “by at least 50 percent, which would price these products out of the market.”…The company wrote that the decision “is based solely on costs; there have not been any issues with successfully completing the testing and certification process.”
We need to protect our children from toxic toys, but this legislation will actually do the opposite. Small, handmade, natural toys will no longer be legally sold in the US, as small companies cannot afford the additional requirements. The US market will be slimmed down to large toy companies who manufacture in Chinese factories, thus making our children less safe. The trusted toy companies parents have sought out because of the toy recalls will no longer be available. This may just be the last holiday season you can shop for natural, handmade toys from small companies.
If you want to help, you should write to your United States representative and senator to request changes in the CPSIA to save handmade toys. The Handmade Toy Alliance has provided a sample letter, and here are links to find your congressional representative and senator.
Image: Handmade Toy Alliance