Sunday, January 4, 2009

Time to send a letter?

I wonder how many of those who happen to read my blog shop at second hand shops and thrift stores like Goodwill for toys and clothing for your children (or grandchildren or nieces and nephews). I wonder how many of you are aware of the Consumer Product Improvement Act (CPSIA) that goes into affect on February 10th?

Like too much of what our Government does this new law looks great at first glance....but in reality it is a "feel good" measure that may have an overly broad reach that could possibly affect nearly every aspect of our already shaky economy and even our environment. This law that is a result of the need to address the issue of lead tainted toys, clothing and food imported into our country (and others) from China, quite possibly goes way too far.

Do you order handmade toys from a cottage industry on line? Well, after February 9th, almost 100% of these small businesses will be out of business! Why? Because they will have to have every single thing they sell that might go to a child under 12 tested for a current price tag of $4000.00 per item.

Those second hand shops we frugal folk love to frequent? Many of them will cease to exist because they will no longer be able to sell used books, toys, or clothing for or to anyone under the age of 12 with out the expensive testing process. So many of these shops consider the children's clothing and toys as the bread and butter of the business with furniture and other things being the "gravy".

What about expansion of the law? Will even garage sales and flea market vendors be affected by this over broad legislation? Craig's List and online trades will most likely also be affected by this feel good but likely to do much harm law.

What about the our church that collects blankets and toys and books and clothing to give to the needy?

And what will happen to all the second hand books, toys, and clothing that can no longer be sold? Will we all store it in our attics until it all disappears? Nope, we'll be sending it out with the garbage and filling up our landfills.
Apparently, these issues are not defined clearly enough to eliminate the need for concern. Where the law isn't clear, historically the law over-reaches as those who are most subject to try to protect themselves from breaking it.

Some may think that I and the others who are blogging about this are overly concerned....but concern is not a bad thing. Didn't we just have an election where America showed that it wanted more transparency in government and more thought given to the effect/affect of laws on the main street of America? This is one time that I think we all need to pay a bit of attention to the cottage industries and textile industries that are crying out for our attention....and our help.

Our written concerns cannot hurt the situation. Questions will only cause clarity. And its not a Republican vs Democrat issue....check out the vote....only 8 abstainers, and no "nay" votes at all in the house. Without careful review and oversight of this new law, only the larger toy companies and clothing manufacturers will survive the next year or so of transition.

The bloggers and the emailer's have made an impact.....but we still need to do more. Apparently the the US Consumer Product Safety Commission’s web page on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008 has been updated with a request for comments (pdf).
For more on this issue:

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