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Activism CPSIA: COUNTERINTELLIGENCE
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Eric H
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 12:05 pm    Post subject: Activism CPSIA: COUNTERINTELLIGENCE Reply with quote

We're going to start a new activism area to keep track of and counter the misinformation out there. I keep coming across environmentalists, public interest sites, and consumer activists who are applauding this thing because they think it finally means the end of lead and dangerous chemicals and/or it means the end of importing from developing countries, especially China. I think we need to be very careful in how we engage them.

In my opinion, most of the people in this forum are not only not in favor of lead or phthalates, but many of us are hyper-conscientious about what we make for children. So let's not get into an "us vs. the wacko environmentalists" fight because at the end of the day I still want to be an environmentalist (though admittedly of a pretty off-brand, anti-statist environmentalism). This needs to focus on the devilish details of the Act, not its intent. The problems are the testing, documentation, timeline, retroactivity, scope, and other poorly thought out aspects which have BIG unintended consequences.

I think these areas fall into the following categories:

* Environmentalists (NRDC)
* Public interest (Public Citizen and PIRG)
* Consumer activists (Consumers Union)
* Small manufacturer denialists (Journal Modiste)
* Protectionists (anti-Chinese, Lou Dobbs)

I think we need to track them, link to them as bad actors, and develop a coherent set of factual counterarguments as well as some good narratives (anecdotes). Rick Woldenberg's detailed discussion of his problems is one example; factual data on the number of small manufacturers being hit by this is another; the huge scope of who is affected (astroturf! I love it) is another.
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Valerie Burner
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know for a fact that both Dr. Mercola and the Health Ranger have posted articles about this in the past two weeks. The thing about their stance, though, is that what they fight for is the right to INGEST things without lead and other pesky substances, and they don't want BIG GOV telling them what is safe to take and what is not. The big controversy over GM foods and products is very much like what we are trying to do here- and this is to BE HEARD. I feel that if we can get our message out to them about how little this legislation will actually HELP, and how much it will HURT, perhaps they will be more understanding and spread the word.
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Eric H
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Etsy policy: You must be compliant to sell in the US market by their Terms of Use.

Admin statement here:

Quote:
Etsy Admin marymary says:
Hi there,

You can find out information about this in our TOU outlined right here under the number 5 heading:

http://www.etsy.com/terms_of_use.php

When each seller signs up to sell on Etsy, they agree to these terms and are each responsible for their own items.

From the TOU:

"Restricted Activities: Your Content and your use of Etsy shall not:

5. Contain items that have been identified by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) as hazardous to consumers and therefore subject to a recall."

Thanks for asking,

Mary


Cross Etsy off the list of people needing an intervention, they get it. Their sellers may not, but they do.
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Eric H
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kathleen F. wrote:
Below is the message I sent to Amy Shearer of Journal Modiste. Feel free to amend it for your purposes and send it onto any other blog owners who derive income from DE type advertisers. They need to know they are liable if they give bad advice or fail to warn people because they have a vested interest in advertising revenue if they operate a site of commercial intent.

Quote:
Dear Ms. Shearer,

It has come to my attention that you are telling people the new CPSIA law will not affect them. This concerns me because other than that it is not true and could hurt visitors and advertisers who rely on you, it represents an enormous legal liability to you.

Publishing Journal Modiste -a commercial venture- puts you at a higher level of liability because you could be sued for giving bad business advice. In fact, the argument could be made that you had a vested interest in concealing the truth for your own gain. If advertisers think they are not affected based on your advice, you can continue to earn advertising revenue -at least until everything falls apart. Still worse, the structure of your site provides an expedited way to report a lot of violators at once. You've made your advertisers easy targets; like shooting fish in a barrel. One only need follow links to your advertisers websites and go from there to report them.

I do not believe you are an evil person, quite the contrary but this doesn't mean your advice is sound. I'm not saying you don't know your business but I've worked in the garment industry for nearly 30 years and I spent three days this week in Washington DC, meeting with the biggest brands in the business as well as the CPSC Counsel General Cheryl Falvey (responsible for defining the rules) and I can tell you, I don't know ANY child's product producer no matter how small who is not devastatingly affected. Maybe you know something about the law that Falvey and the cadre of attorneys don't but she made it very clear to us that she doesn't care if it's one item made by a fairy godmother out of 100% certified organic angel wings sold on eBay or Etsy, the rules apply. She also made it clear that enforcement will be highly aggressive. In the interests of responsible leadership, reducing your own legal liability and altruistic concern for those who depend on you, please amend this oversight as quickly as possible.

Regarding ebay, it's nothing personal but every person who continues to sell on ebay after feb 10 will be reported to both Ebay for violation of TOS (goods must be legally saleable and they aren't without the GCCs and so those listings will be deleted) and their state's attorneys general office. You see, it's not the overworked Federal government who will be enforcing this law but every state government is enjoined to enforce the law within state boundaries. There's also the matter of consumers looking to make a buck. If a vendor is not compliant, there are sick people out there who will think nothing of filing suit for having unknowingly purchased illegal goods from even the tiniest vendors. They don't care, they can sue ebay and etsy too which is why they will be enforcing it. Etsy management has already stated they intend to enforce the regulations strictly. Anyone who lacks the official certification from an approved lab, will be banned from selling affected goods on Etsy.

The law is specific. There are civil and criminal penalties. One can be arrested on their door step and go to jail for five years for *knowingly* selling illegal goods. Other than this message I've sent you, I know you have been advised of the law by other parties and there's that email you sent which proves you are aware the law exists even if you don't understand that you, your visitors and your advertisers are affected. The law doesn't say you're off the hook if you don't agree or you don't understand that it doesn't apply to you. But like I said, I am gravely concerned because running Journal Modiste puts you at a higher level of liability, dispensing business advice with a vested interest in ad revenues which would surely cease once your advertisers knew this affects them.

This is an ugly ugly situation. We need everyone to come together and FIGHT this thing now, before it's too late. I urge you to assume the responsibility of the position of leadership into which you have inserted yourself.


Journal Modiste has been notified.
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Pamela
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

James Girone of James Girone's Guide to Children's Fashions has been notified.

Quote:
Dear Mr. Girone,

I am wondering if you or your staff are aware of the new CSPIA (Consumer Safety Protection Improvement Act) that was signed into law on August 18. This law has a devastating effect on all children’s clothing and product manufacturers in the USA. This will pertain to any small business down to an individual person making clothing items for resale. The civil penalties are huge, with thousands of dollars worth of fines and jail terms. It is vital that you are aware of this so you can help inform your audience as well as start to get a grass roots movement going to make changes to this law.

Please don’t take this lightly. I can get you in contact with more knowledgeable people than myself and can provide many websites but you can see some of the main discussions at these websites:

http://fashion-incubator.com
http://www.nationalbankruptcyday.com

Below is a letter [omitted here] that was sent to the owner of the blog Journal Modiste by the owner of the Fashion Incubator website, she had a misunderstanding of the law:
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Eric H
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Found a post about the benefits of CPSIA at Safety Matters blog.

Quote:
Are you also going to cover the devastation that the CPSIA is going to cause among small -and large!- manufacturers of children's products, apparel, electronics, astroturf, footwear, school supplies, etc.? Not to do so would be irresponsible. Many believe that the only people left making these items are precisely those you want out of business. See Rick Woldenberg's videos, linked from www.nationalbankruptcyday.com for more details.


I am not satisfied with this response. Yes, safety is good. But you aren't going to get it from the players left standing.
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Esther
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am really not sure what to do about this. Two groups have filed suit asking the CPSC to immediately and retroactively impose the pthalate ban. Such a thing, as we all know, is logistically impossible. By the time the trial even comes before a judge, the ban will be in place going forward February 10th. I know the pthalate ban is not top priority, but it is a concern. The assumption is that we are spoon feeding toxic chemicals to kids.

Lawsuit seeks to close toxic toys loophole.
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Esther
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2008 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From the American Chemistry Council on pthalates. Very interesting site, especially the myths. Just a part of the article quoted below.

Interesting after 10 years of study, with little evidence of threat, an Act of Congress bans the substance.

Quote:
In December 1998, after being petitioned to have vinyl toys banned, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released the results of a preliminary review of DINP in children's products. The CPSC concluded that "few if any children are at risk from the chemical because the amount that they ingest does not reach a level that would be harmful. Generally, the amount ingested does not even come close to a harmful level."

Having reached that conclusion, CPSC nevertheless requested industry to remove phthalates from soft rattles and teethers "as a precaution while more scientific work is done." The industry complied despite the lack of scientific basis for the request. CPSC also set a conservative acceptable daily intake level for DINP, setting it at "100 times less than the amount found not to cause any adverse health effects in laboratory animals." Only children who mouthed toys containing DINP for long periods of time every day could potentially exceed that very conservative acceptable daily intake level.

Review followed review. Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop chaired a scientific panel in 1999, which concluded that "DINP in toys is not harmful for children in the normal use of these toys." The CPSC Panel recommended further study to increase the already substantial body of knowledge and reduce uncertainty and convened the Chronic Hazard Advisory Panel (CHAP) to do so.
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Eric H
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2008 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Esther wrote:
From the American Chemistry Council on pthalates. Very interesting site, especially the myths. Just a part of the article quoted below.

Interesting after 10 years of study, with little evidence of threat, an Act of Congress bans the substance.


The American Chemistry Council is obviously going to put up self-serving information, and I don't think we want to go there. We're not interested in defending (bad yucky) phthalates. The issues we are concerned are the timeline, the testing, and the GCC not the chemistry debate. I'm putting aside my personal love of lead - yum-yum.
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Jennifer Taggart
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2008 10:46 pm    Post subject: ACC on Phthalates Reply with quote

I agree with Eric. You don't want to rely on the ACC's phthalates information to attack the CPSIA. Focusing on timing, scope of products, cost will be more persuasive. Plus, the ACC's position on phthlates is viewed as self serving. And, (1) the report cited by the posted shows phthalate exposure above safety levels at 75 minutes of mouthing; (2) the mouthing time studies on which the safety assessment in the report is based have been criticized; and (3) several published peer reviewed reports since those safety evaluations have shown adverse health effects in laboratory animals.
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Esther
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fine. The pthalate fight I will take elsewhere. Who are we supposed to believe? Special interest groups or respected scientists? We need a balanced view. Oh well. The pthalate thing will come back to bite, IMO.
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Eric H
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Found this inflammatory, misleading nonsense at Clarksville Online in an article entitled Hidden hazards' in children’s toys still abound

Quote:
“While the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act is a major step forward, many of its protections don’t take effect until 2009, so it’s still ‘buyer beware’ for this shopping season,” said U.S. PIRG Public Health Advocate Liz Hitchcock. “Worse, last week the CPSC told companies that they could keep selling toys with toxic phthalate chemicals until they ran out of them, despite the law’s clear prohibition against selling them after Feb. 10.”

According to the most recent data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), toy-related injuries sent more than 80,000 children under the age of five to emergency rooms in 2007. Eighteen children died from toy-related injuries that year.For 23 years, the PIRG “Trouble in Toyland” report has offered safety guidelines for purchasing toys for small children and has provided examples of toys currently on store shelves that pose potential safety hazards.

Because the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), passed in August 2008, established new standards for lead and phthalates, PIRG’s research this year used laboratory tests to identify toys that contain those toxic chemicals.


While it's literally true that they can still sell those things, the intent by PIRG is to make every parent believe that they are selling pure lead plate coated with phthalate as the ubiquitous Barbie doll. It's the same approach that makes people fear dihydrogen monoxide: it's blatant manipulation by disinformation.

My response:
Quote:

“Congress clearly intended the new law to stop the sale of toys containing toxic phthalates in February, but last week’s CPSC legal opinion told manufacturers that they can keep selling the remaining millions of hazardous toys until they run out, which could take years

This article and especially this statement is misleading. The CPSC's General Counsel, not the CPSC, advised that the plain language of the act -- with regard to phthalates -- was not supposed to be applied to children's goods manufactured before the 10 February 2009 deadline. It is, however, applied to all children's goods manufactured after that date. They did rule that the language of that same act regarding lead would apply on that date regardless of when they were manufactured, so many manufacturers and/or retailers are looking at enormous backlogs that will become illegal to sell on 10 February, regardless of whether they have lead or not. Why? I will explain.

The statements by PIRG in this article would lead the average consumer to believe that phthalates and lead are ubiquitous throughout the toy industry. It is simply not true that any significant number of those 80,000 emergency room injuries have anything to do with phthalates or lead.

What the PIRG, Public Citizen, NRDC, Senator Feinstein, and Representatives Waxman, Schakowsky, and DeGette have failed to note in any of their protests are the devilish details of this law. The law applies to a startling array of goods including toys, clothing, strollers, hair bows, astroturf, electronics, and many more items because it is directed at children's goods, children being defined as anyone under 12. The manufacturers of these goods include everyone from giants Haynes to the grandpa who makes wooden toys to sell on E-bay. What they each must do is not simply not use lead or phthalates, which most of them already don't, but they must also send them to certified testing labs and obtain a certificate to prove they are lead and phthalate free. They must also be able to trace those tests to lots. They may also have to put up a bond in case of recall.

What if they use organic cotton and organic dyes? Too bad, they must test. What if they are already testing to more stringent EU standards? Too bad, now you have to pay for an additional test. Toy makers HABA and Selecta have already announced withdrawals from the US market. Grandpa is done. Haynes may survive, but children can now look forward to a wardrobe consisting solely of home-made or mass-produced clothing, toys, and other goods.
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Eric H
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeesh. I don't have the energy to counter this:
http://static.uspirg.org/consumer/archives/toxic_chemicals/index.html
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mollyodesigns
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 1:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Would anyone like to respond to this?

This was posted on www.herecomesthestork.com A website for ebay sellers. The poster claims to have talked to the office of Rush (the person behind this bill).
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Kiki allthenumbers
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

About the post that molly posted, its all over Etsy as well., in several threads. I tried to say it doesn't matter what the nice man told you, if you don't have it in writing it doesn't matter. But it was all "now i'm not worried, the new bill is different, there are exemptions" (which is not true)....
I don't know what else to say to combat this one other than, you're wrong and I'm right. Many people are jumping on her bandwagon....
Any ideas?
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