Update 12/14: The act was in fact not passed by the CPSC which is a regulatory agency but by congress – apologies for any confusion.
We interrupt the tidings of comfort and joy to bring you some heartbreaking news.
Of course we’re all for strengthening the safety standards of mass-produced toys made in China, and banning toxins like phthalates and lead. But this year, Congress passed the ill-conceived Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act 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 Safer Toy Guide.
They will all go out of business. Period.
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 toys. 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.
In other words, handmade toys will now be illegal.
So many of our past reviewees are pleading for your help. Here’s what you can do:
-Find your congressperson and Senators and write a letter like the sample here, particularly if they serve on the consumer protection subcommittee.
-Send a letter directly to the CPSC.
-Join the Handmade Toy Alliance and check out their proposed changes to the act which make a whole lot of sense.
-Spread the word to everyone you know who cares about helping the little guy, particular in today’s economy.
Thanks mamas. We know we can help make a difference and preserve this important cottage industry, keep good honest people in business, and protect the playthings we all love best of all. -Liz and Kristen and the whole CMP staff
Edited to add: It would seem this act impacts not just toys, but all children’s products (thanks, Diana) including clothing, hair accessories, shoes – pretty much everything we feature here. Please please, if you do one thing today, shoot off an email or two, will you?