(sorry for the wacky font sizes - Blogger is moody today) Isn't Bentley the Bear a cute model for my new blankie? And doesn't the picture look adorable and innocent? So why the shock factor? It's a bit of shameless self-promotion - this is a new item I have for sale at Eclectica By Jan. And I'm hoping it's actually legal to sell this blanket now, under the implementation stay of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which was announced on January 30 and is the day I began crocheting the blankie. To update you on the developments since I blogged on the topic last month, here is the quoted statement from the Acting Chair of the CPSC, Nancy Nord:
Many of you have heard of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) and its far-reaching effects on American consumers and businesses. We are working hard to implement the CPSIA to further our goal of protecting American families. From manufacturers of children’s products to the kids that use them, everyone is affected in some way– even those who make and donate products to hospitals and charities.
In these difficult economic times, thousands of small producers, home-crafters, thrift shops, and small retailers have told us of the startling effects the testing and certification requirements of the CPSIA will have on their livelihoods. These are not big faceless companies–these are real people who are the backbone of our economy. To provide some much-needed relief, the Commission passed a one-year delay (or "stay") of the enforcement of certain testing and certification provisions of the CPSIA (that were scheduled to go into effect on February 10, 2009). This gives limited relief to small manufacturers and others who cannot comply with the law without incurring substantial testing costs.
CPSC is committed to implementing the CPSIA as fairly and as efficiently as possible, but we are limited in the scope of our authorities under the law. Including testing and certification, there are new rules to be understood and adopted by everyone from the largest global manufacturer to the crafter working in the family workshop, to the mom-and-pop shop on the corner. Indeed, all children’s products including toys, books, child care articles and clothing are covered in different ways by this law; there are different rules for different products. To reduce some of the confusion and to simplify the complex elements of the new law, the staff at CPSC has addressed some of the more frequently asked questions that you have asked.
Nancy Nord, Acting Chairman
This is one of the clearest, most succinct explanations of the CPSIA flap that I've read. I must say that, even though she's a Republican, Nancy Nord seems like a pretty cool lady. Which brings me to the topic of Politics Makes Strange Bedfellows. Yes, here I am - a longtime, true-blue Democrat - in league with the Republicans who are trying to amend this bill to save the handmade industry I'm part of. I have squirmed more than once to be supporting a measure spearheaded by the likes of John Boehner and Saxby-Chambliss. The major airtime on this is coming from Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. (I'm going to have wash off my keyboard from writing this!) And I've yet to see any Democrats stepping forward on the reform of this well-intentioned but very poorly-written law.
I'm hoping for some genuine moderation and wisdom on this issue. Using this issue as a poster child for the right-wing "all regulation is bad" mantra is not a good idea. I'm especially concerned about the person-on-the-street "we're too concerned about safety" talking point I've encountered. There are real, alarming threats from the toxins (lead and phthalates) this law attempts to regulate. I am not in favor of letting these poisons loose on our planet!
Unfortunately, the CPSIA attempts to solve the problem in highly bass-ackwards fashion: it puts the burden on the end manufacturer, not the source. One devastating result among many is the law punishes the very people who've been at the forefront of the safe-toy movement - small manufacturers and crafters.
We need to cut the industrial poisons off at the source! Especially with phthalates, these poisons should be banned outright and strong measures taken to develop safe alternatives. We need follow the European model, and use the precautionary principle - new compounds must be proven safe before they are launched on the market place. The policy in the U.S. has been to ineffectively attempt to shut the barn door long after the horse has escaped.
That's my story, and I'm sticking with it. Oh, and if you're looking for a beautiful, unique, and handmade baby blanket - please buy mine while it's still legal to sell it :-)