CPSIA & CPSC: Activism and what you can do

I’m really sorry to have let regular posting come at the expense of this issue but this affects so many of us. Most of us are in the war room (open to the public) working on strategy and activism. Speaking of, this is what you can do.

  • From this site, you can email all of your legislators by filling out one simple form.
  • Sign the petition.
  • One enterprising individual is posting this on Craig’s List. I’m sure no one will mind if you copy the text or modify it for Craigs List in your area. The key here is to involve consumers. Legislators are largely ignoring us because consumers think this is a great law.
  • Wacky Hermit has organized a mail-in protest. She says:

    The idea is to mail a sample of our cute handmade stuff that is going to be taken off the market by the lead testing requirements to Bobby Rush, with a letter telling him of our plight and how this item is a gift to him because it can’t be sold, since it’s going to turn into a “hazardous substance”.

    It’s quite humorous and is effective at making a point. Click through to get the details. She amends the protest with another option of sending an empty box if you don’t want to send product. That entry is here.

  • Here you can find a lot of email addresses of legislators and CPSC folks to copy and paste into your email program.
  • If you’re a toy maker concerned with CPSIA or the CPSC, go to CPSIA Central. Rob Wilson has an interesting idea for a video protest. If you’re a film maker, this could be the ticket!

I’m a bit scattered and left out quite a few things. Feel free to jump in and I’ll amend this entry.

Related in the forum:
The War Room: CPSIA & Consumer Safety. This is a very active section with nearly 60 different threads and over 1,000 postings. Open to the public.

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7 comments

  1. Shelagh says:

    Kathleen,

    I received an infuriating reply (a form letter, no doubt) from a Florida representative and will follow up accordingly. I’ll forward the details to you.

    It seems that representatives nationwide are sending similar form letter responses, all defending their ‘protection of America’s children.’ If only this were true.

    My children were not Made in China, yet our elected officials are making every effort to put that label on their backs.

    FI was a blessing to me when I was researching materials and machines for my small domestic manufacturing business. You’re even more important to me now. Thanks to everyone for coming together in support of handmade and domestic production.

  2. Anne says:

    Every one of my friends who wrote in got the same response — it sounded like they didn’t even read the letter. Said something to the effect of “I’m glad you think this law is a good idea and I will continue to fight to keep dangerous toys out of our kids’ hands.” The craigslist post is a good idea, but I’d add something about HOW we want the law to change, and that it won’t be any less safe for our proposed changes. Otherwise it sounds like we’re against child safety because it’s bad for business.

  3. BLT says:

    It is very difficult to get congressional offices to actually read a letter. My father once wrote three letters to various congressmen, telling why he didn’t support a particular thing, despite being a member of a group who you might think would support it. I saw the letter. It was extremely clear – its important sentences were underlined, it used capitalization to emphasize the surprising points. Yet all three congressmen responded with a letter that said, “Glad to hear that you support this measure!” It is infuriating to realize that your voice AGAINST something gets counted as a voice FOR something, simply because they’re already expecting everyone to be united.

  4. Trisha says:

    I posted the requested item on Craigslist and was promptly flagged. They said it was because I wasn’t selling anything. It didn’t even take 4 hours. Our Craigslist people are wicked here in St. Louis.

  5. SS says:

    Face the real problem, no one wants to be the congressman who is for lead in Toys, which is exactly what the headlines will be.

    And the one’s who know better and are fighting for the law (just so some law will pass no matter how bad it is) don’t care. Like in the paper today:

    David Arkush is director of the Congress Watch division of Public Citizen, one of the half-dozen or so activist groups that pushed for passage of the CPSIA. Although Arkush says he’s only now starting to hear from small, independent manufacturers, he believes the claims about excessive testing costs are the result of poor information from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, if not a deliberate misinformation campaign.

    “Some of their perceptions of what the costs are going to be are really overblown,” Arkush asserts. The CPSC “is not a bunch of jackbooted thugs who are going to come lock people up if they’re not complying with the law.”

    Arkush admits some of the mandates may sound absurd at first blush, such as testing wooden toys for phthalates, or testing cotton T-shirts for lead.
    “But we’re erring on the side of safety,” he adds, “because this is about lead and other toxic chemicals that are very dangerous to children.”

    Of course he is trying to talk around the issues but, taken point for point, this makes no sense.

    When David Arkush states “he believes the claims about excessive testing costs are the result of poor information from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, if not a deliberate misinformation campaign…Some of their perceptions of what the costs are going to be are really overblown” is he saying that testing is not hundreds to thousands of dollars per each item as the testing companies are quoting, is he saying that each type of item need not be tested as the law is presently interpreted, or is he saying that these are both true but thats not really a lot of money to small independent manufacturers. Is he also saying that testing all currently held inventory intended for those under 12 is not going to be too burdensome for small retailers?

    When he says “The CPSC ‘is not a bunch of jackbooted thugs who are going to come lock people up if they’re not complying with the law.’” is he really saying that small independent manufacturers and resellers shouldn’t worry about complying with the law and committing a felony because they’ll probably never be caught and prosecuted?

    When he “admits some of the mandates may sound absurd at first blush, such as testing wooden toys for phthalates, or testing cotton T-shirts for lead.
    “But we’re erring on the side of safety,” he adds, “because this is about lead and other toxic chemicals that are very dangerous to children.” is he implying that there is no reasonableness standard? (e.g. his own company’s website should also be taken down because children may use keyboards containing dangerous levels of lead to access it)?

  6. Hello,
    I am a tutu maker who sells on etsy. I am meeting with my representative on Wednesday, January 7. I am collecting photos of items that may disappear if this law is not amended. The photos will be printed, labeled then put in album and will go with me on Wednesday. The albums will also be mailed to Dingell, Rush, Martha and Oprah. I am hoping to compile enugh photos to send 1 a week until ….. well….. I don’t know. If you are one of these handmaker please email me with however many photos you’d like to send, the more the better, your name, location etsy shop or website. I have almost one album filled but I need more photos. please email to frillerup@yahoo.com.

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