Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Legislation was passed last year because of all the Chinese toy recalls. It was meant to increase standards for toys and clothing comming into the US, which involves a lot of third party testing to confirm lead levels and other dangerous substances and batch labling so that you could trace where each item comes from. Sounds good right? Well, it would be if the legisilation only effected toys made in Asia or if it only effected mass produced items or large companies, but instead this legislation was written so that it essentially effects anything marketed and sold to and for anyone 12 or under, toys, books, clothing, sporting goods, car seat covers and I'm sure I'm forgetting a few things. This legislation is retroactive so that all untested items made before the law goes into effect on February 10th will become illegal to sell. Third party testing is very expensive, $300-$4,000 per item, every "batch" sold must be tested and the testing required destroys the product. The penalty for not complying includes extremely large fines.

So what does all that mean? It means that thousands of small business will go out of business because they cant afford the testing costs, even if they are using items they KNOW to be lead free and safe (as all toymakers I know do), testing must occure on the end product, not the components. It means that ALL custom children's items, toys, clothes and cloth diapers will be against the law. According to the law, each custom item would have to be tested, but since it is, costly, destructive testing...well, I'm sure you get the idea. Say goodbye to toys or clothing from Etsy and children's craft fairs, this law does not distinguish between the hobby seamstress/ toymaker and the multimillion dollar corporation, if you sell the items specified you will fall under the legislation.

I am truely shocked that this has not recieved more media coverage, but I believe it is because no one wants to put their name behind what could be seen as "relaxing" safety standards on children's items. But that is not what I want, I just want toys made in the USA and Europe, toys that were safe and are safe to continue to be legal to sell. Small European toymakers are already leaving the US market because this legislation will not recognize the standards already in place in Europe and requires them to retest all items according to these new US testing proceedures.

What can you do? The Handmade Toy Alliance was created by small business, US toy makers who what to change the legislation. They have a form letter you can send to your Congress Person and Senator. You can post a comment HERE so that this story will be on CNN. You can join them on facebook HERE. You can sign their online petition HERE.

I am lucky enough to know a few people who make and sell children's toys and clothing in real life and online. I thought that once my little ones were in school, I might join them. This legislation could wipe out a whole portion of an industry, I am sure it is not what the lawmakers intended and it must be fixed!

1 comment:

dieMutti said...

I was just checking your blog and have enjoyed all the new posts! I am also involved in the Feb 10th legislation... I work for a basically one-woman company ( and she is a German book distributor. Now there's a possibility that she (and me with her) could go out of business because the books/DVDs she sells are imported from Germany! And We're talking about books here! And like you said, the companies she gets the books/DVDs from are already meeting European standards and aren't planning to do new testing for the US law. So she would have to spend like $1500 per book sold for third-party testing. Since when have people been putting lead in books? Anyone? Anyway, I appreciate your post - there's some more good information at