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Cool Mom Picks: Help Us Save Handmade!
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Help Us Save Handmade!

Save Handmade Toys
Note: This page, like all pages on Cool Mom Picks, is protected by copyright. You are more than welcome to reprint a short excerpt and link back to the original source. Thanks for helping to spread the word.

So many of you have written to us out of concern regarding the new Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act, that we created this page as a source of information, resources and breaking news.

If you want to help spread the word, you can post this button on your blog or website. It's our hope that together, we can encourage Congress to amend the act so that we can both keep our children safe and protect the handmade toys and clothing that we love so much.

Adorable handmade bear image courtesy of Bumblebird--an artist worth saving! Button design by Laurie Smithwick of LEAP Design.


We're all for strengthening the safety standards of mass-produced toys, clothes, and accessories made in China, and banning toxins like phthalates and lead. But this year, congress passed the ill-conceived Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act, a law which goes into effect in two months and will absolutely decimate the small toy manufacturers, independent artisans, and crafters who have already earned the public trust. The very same ones that we often feature here and in our yearly special edition gift guides.

With this act in effect starting February 10 2010 [edited to add: enforcement has be delayed one year from it's original scheduled date in 2009--sort of--but the guidelines remain in effect] so many people we love will be impacted: Moms who sew beautiful handmade waldorf dolls out of home, artists who have spent decades hand-carving trucks and cars out of natural woods, that guy at the craft show who sold you the cute handmade puzzle--even larger US companies who employ local workers and have not once had any sort of safety issue will no longer be able to sell their goods. Not without investing tens of thousands of dollars into third-party testing and labeling, just to prove that toys that never had a single toxic chemical in them still don't have a single toxic chemical in them.

How to Get Involved -- it only takes 5 minutes of your time!

-Place the Save Handmade! button on your blog or website to help spread the word to everyone you know who cares about protecting the little guy and preserving beautiful items made with love for our children.

-Find your congress person and senators and write a letter like the sample here.
Particularly if they serve on the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection or the House Committee on Small Business.

-Send an email directly to the CPSC or contact CPSC chair Inez Tenenbaum at 301-504-7923.

-Support the CPSIA Regulatory Relief Bill by calling your senator (find a complete list of contact info here), asking to speak with the Senator or the staff member who handles commerce issues, and asking him or her to co-sponsor the bill and/or to vote for it as a CPSIA amendment.

(For questions about the legislation, you can contact Tom Jones in Senator DeMint's DC office at 202-224-6121. Tom's email address is tom_jones@commerce.senate.gov)

-Make your own suggestion at Change.org where saving handmade from the CPSIA became one of the top ten ideas for change in America in January 2009. The bigwigs in DC are watching this page with interest.

-If you are a retailer or manufacturer, take this CPSIA impact survey; or submit your stories of how the CPSIA is affecting you to webcontent@amendthecpsia.com for publication on amendthecpsia.com

Fantastic Resources

-Amend the CPSIA Website

-The Handmade Toy Alliance (check out their proposed solutions, a lot of which make a whole lot of sense

-CPSIA Facebook Group and Handmade Toy Alliance facebook fan page

-Z Recommends: Five steps you can take to save natural toys (excellent reading)

-Fashion Incubator

-Overlawyered's CPSIA category

-Rick Woldenberg's Learning Resources Blog

-Etsy business forums and the Keeping up with CPSIA team

-Twitter: Search using the #CPSIA hashtag

-Endangered Whimsy - a blog gallery of handmade products endangered by the CPSIA. Feel free to submit yours.

-Video: Handmade Portraits on The Storque 

-Great list of CPSIA Compliant Suppliers for designers and crafters

Related articles, very good posts, and late-breaking news

April 2011 - The Handmade Toy Alliance endorses a new CPSIA Reform Bill. We support them as they head to Washington to testify to Congress about it on April 7.

Feb 2011 - Child-Product Makers Seek to Soften New Rules at the NYT. Inez Tannenbaum describes "seeking ways to provide relief to small toy manufacturers." But is congress aiming to eliminate testing for the big guys too?

Mothering Magazine folds its print edition after 30 years in part because small toy and gear manufacturers can no longer afford to advertise thanks to CPSIA burdens. 

Weeding Through the Regulations - a heartfelt, honest blog post from a crafter about what it's like trying to start a handmade children's business these days.

Fantastic WSJ article: Small Crafts vs Big Government

Want to request another stay of enforcement? Here's a form to email the CPSC commissioners. Easy.

Jan 2011 - There was a house commerce meeting on January 6 to "discuss a legislative solution to the numerous unintended consequences of the CPSIA that have emerged since 2008." With the testing stay due to expire on February 10, reps from The Handmade Toy Alliance presented a list of possible solutions. It was a fact-gathering meeting and no schedule for adding an amendment was discussed.

Compelling post at the Learning Resources Blog on the unintended consequences of the retroactive ban of drop-side cribs.

Dec 2010 - The Handmade Toy Alliance testifies at a Senate sub-committee meeting. See the C-Span footage here.

November 2010 - Etsy adds a keeping up with CPSIA team to help artists stay on top of developments.

The HTA posts a "helpful" flowchart of the CPSIA testing requirements of even handmade toys and items.

May 2010-  Another sad casualty of the CPSIA - this time, 14 year-old St Paul mom-and-pop toyshop The Essence of Nonsense, that's lost too many of its handmade toy suppliers to the law.

March 2010 At the Learning Resources blog, an analysis of The Waxman Amendment to the CPSIA

December 2009 CPSIA update on BlogHer.com - another stay of enforcement until February '11 gives small businesses and crafters a glimmer of hope right before the holidays.

Nov. 27 The insanity continues: Despite finding that brass offers no risk of lead contamination, brass is voted not exempt from the law. Meaning children under 12 may no longer be able to play trombones, trumpets, French horns, or brass bells.

Another casualty: We're devastated to learn one of our favorite small businesses, Storyblox, will close shop due to the CPSIA.

October 30 - The New York Times finally jumps on the story with Burden of Safety Law Imperils Small Toymakers

October 15- Oh, good God. Now police can't hand out teddy bears to kids at crime scenes because of the CPSIA. Via Learning Resources blog.

August 27 -Mattel, the brand with the most lead paint toy recalls in recent years, is deemed exempt from third-party lead testing while small companies (with no powerful lobby) continue to suffer with no exemptions.

-Good companies continue to be destroyed CPSIA including CMP fave, Brio who will stop exporting their toys to the US from Europe, along with Hess, Selecta, and Finkbeiner. Small companies like Sullivan Toy Co and Gem Valley Toys have ceased new production on their beautiful handmade wooden toys.

-Obama nominee, Former SC State Superintendant of Education Inez Tenenbaum is confirmed as new CPSC Chair. More about her through the White House press release on CPSC appointments. (Interestingly, Tenenbaum lost her SC senatorial bid to Jim DeMint who is spearheading the CSIA regulatory relief bill.)

-Good update on Mothering.com from Rob Wilson on why to keep up the good fight

June - Mattel is fined 2.3mm by the CPSC for lead paint on toys. See the Handmade Toy Alliance reaction here.

-Watch videos of mid-May's congressional small business committee hearings on CPSIA

-Shops like Kangarooboo start phasing out European toys from Selecta, Haba, Hess and Bajo which will not longer be sold in the US. Wah.

-May: The Handmade Toy Alliance officially becomes a dot-org. Find out how to become a member here.

-Watch the video footage of the April 1 Amend the CPSIA rally here

-Summary of the April 1 CPSIA rally in DC from the Bureau of National Affairs

Another death by CPSIA - Europe's Simba toys, including the cool Eichhorn Marbletrax, announces a pullout of the US market.

March 12: Politico article: Dems Dragging Feet on Consumer Bill:

Post Star: Testing delayed but legal liability still in place.

Feb 27 the CPSIA hearings were cancelled which included participation from small business owners and is "not ilkely to be brought back" - wha-ah? Get in touch with the members of the small business committe and ask for a hearing! Especially if your representative is on the committee or relevant subcommittees  Tips here.

Feb 24: Newest guidelines from CPSC on lead exclusion (pdf)

Boston Globe article on impact of CPSIA on thrift stores (Goodwill pulled all children's items from it's Massachusetts stores, yikes)

NEW: A release of CPSIA compliance guidance specifically for small businesses, resellers and crafters (pdf)

Examiner staff editorial: Anti-lead law causes small business devestation

Kathleen Fasanella corrects com,mon misunderstandings about the impact of CPSIA and its ability to protect children in a letter to Congresswoman Schnanowsky

Feb 5  LA Times: Clothing and Toy Manufacturers Make New Push to Delay Lead Rules

USA Today: Safety Rules on Lead in Kids' Products Perplex and Polarize; Lawmakers Want CPSC Chief to Step Down which Includes a copy of the actual Feb 3 letter to President Obama signed by Senators Rockefeller and Pryor, and Representatives Waxman and Rush (pdf)

Want to know what testing actually costs for a small manufacturer? Read this post at the Happy Panda

Feb 4 Excellent and lengthy Boston Phoenix feature: Congress's War on Toys

AP: Confusion Over Anti-Lead Laws; CPSC Blamed

Post at Crooked Timber: Toy Story -with comments worth reading

Great post from Rick Woldenberg at Learning Resources blog refuting the consumer advocacy groups' support of CPSIA (and normally we love the consumer advocacy groups! What's going on here?!)

Proposed legislation to amend the CPSIA by Senator DeMint of South Carolina


JAN 30, 2009: The CPSIA is given a one year stay until February 10. Read our take here or read the full CPSC press release here. You can also download the statements (pdf) from Chairman Nancy Nord or from Acting Commissioner Thomas Moore

Related articles: Washington Post, Wall Street Journal

Related statements: American Library Association, Toy Industry Association,


Jan 30 Today is the deadline for comments to CPSC on allowing crafters to use safe materials instead of testing. Send a letter to the CPSC through this easy Moms Rising link (you don't even have to be a mom!)

Z Recommends: Yet another great post on the far-reaching effects of the CPSIA

Jan 28 NY Post editorial: How 'Child Safety' May Kill NYC Jobs (by Jeff Stier, associate director of the American Council on Science and Health)

Business Week: Toymakers Up in Arms Over Product Tests

Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram: For Small Businesses, New Lead Law is Poison (ooh, great headline!)

Jan 21 A promising development: a letter to Henry Waxman from members of the Committee on Energy and Commerce (download the letter here) asking for a delay in the CPSIA for "fine-tuning" so that we can "save many jobs and ensure toys are safe." Representatives Joe Barton and George Radanovich write It is becoming clear that, without the rapid application of some common sense, the law also holds potential to impose vast economic hardship...The letters, phone calls and emails we have received...now number in the thousands...This situation is urgent.

Sad but true: The $15,160 kids dress on etsy posted in protest of the CPSIA.

VERY encouraging letter to Nancy Nord, CPSC Chair (pdf) from Henry Waxman, Bobby Rush, John Rockefeller, and Mark Pryor

Forbes.com editorial: Scrap The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. A must-read.

Santa Maria Sun Cover Article: All Worry and No Play (One of the best, most comprehensive articles we've seen!)

Wall Street Journal online: Pelosi's Toy Story. The real responsibility lies with Congress, which rushed through "kid-friendly" crowd-pleaser legislation without considering the consequences.

Vote on the CNN iReport story The (New) War on Toys to get it on air!

Jan 13: CMP co-editor Liz Gumbinner gives an interview with Fox 5 NY: See Toy Safety Controversy and Resources on MyFoxNY.com.

Consumer Reports Blog: Toymakers and Resellers Raise Concerns Over New Safety Regulations

Jan12: A class-action law suit against the CPSIA has been filed (it was bound to happen). If you have a business potentially affected by the law, click the link at Reform CPSIA for contact info.

Dallas Morning News editorial: The Hidden Cost of Good Intentions

Great news: CPSC clarifies that resellers, thrift shops and consignment stores are exempt from the regulations.

You have until January 30 to submit comments to the CPSC on component testing and natural materials exemptions. Use this link (PDF) for the CPSIA comment form.

Overlawyered: Furor Builds Over Toyless Shelves

Digital Journal: Congressman Weiner Slams Child-Product Safety Law (goooooo Anthony!)

USA Today: New Rules on Toys Could Spell Doom

NYC Metro: Toymakers say law is too tough (featuring CMP fave Tedde.com!)

Breaking news Via Bloomberg: Panel Exempts Some Products from US Lead Rules including wood, wool, cotton, silk, and gemstones - proof that your input (and a bunch of jewelry lobbyists) can indeed make a difference. Read about from CMP Co-Editor Kristen Chase at Eco Child's Play

Read the recap of the Jan 5 CPSC meeting here (pdf) including amendments to the CPSIA. Instructions for input on pages 1-2

Jan 8: Christian Science Monitor: A new law hurts small toy stores and toymakers

Jan 7 LA Times article: Legislators rethink rules on testing children's clothing and toys for lead

Excellent post at Rescue Marketing: "Heard in the Slammer: 'I Used to Make Handmade Toys'"

Jan 2 Terrific LA Times article details the impact on resale, thrift shops, and second-hand shoppers.

ABC News story: Toy Companies Cheer Proposed Lead Rule Changes

Activism alert: Etsy artists band together and send handmade toys to Congressman Rush

The Smart Mama

Patriot Ledger Editorial: "New law to put thousands of out work"

Boing Boing: "Consumer safety rule could drive crafters out of business"

Mothering.com: "Good intentions lead to catastrophic results for the natural toy industry"

Wall Street Journal: "Vendors urge relaxed lead safety rule" (despite the misleading headline)

DaddyTypes: "Is CPSC's new lead regulation going to wipe out the baby non-industrial complex next February?"

Eco Child's Play: "New consumer safety laws will make handmade, natural toys illegal"

Mom-101: "In support of work-at-home moms and other reasons to defeat the CPSIA act"

ETSY open letter on CPSIA

Startup Nation: Will CPSIA affect you?

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