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ACTIVISM: Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act
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Valerie Burner
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jody, Thanks for all your hard work. The reason I mentioned FD schools is that they churn out several hundred would-be "DEs" every year- many of whom are working "under the radar". That could raise the numbers even higher...
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April Femrite
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will work on connecting with the Outdoor Industry Association this week. I am sure it is something they have already have some type of Q & A post going on.......
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Jody
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello everyone. Another long post, but I have to give you a rundown of next steps.

The letter below is written to specifically request an exemption for the Third Party Testing Requirement for lead in children's apparel. I can't find where there is a specific public comment period planned to address Section 102 requirements or where one has already been held. So, I'm not sure when the most effective time would be to send this. The real kicker is that Congress gave the CPSC authority to implement these rules as they see fit, with or without any public input. So, it’s up to the CPSC to decide whether or not they will hold an official public comment period. So, I'm guessing now is as good a time as any, though, as they may decide to offer one if they get enough grief.

Don’t copy and send yet, though. This is a draft letter, and it's pretty long. I'd like to get some editing suggestions if you have them before distributing it to a larger audience to act upon. I’m not a sensitive writer. Please provide me with your comments by this Friday, November 22 so that I can finalize and distribute. I'll provide the mailing address for the appropriate CPSC representative when I post the final version.

Regarding distribution, I've looked into using an online petition service as a vehicle for getting this out to advocates outside our forum (e.g. Etsy and eBay sellers and other forums and blogs that the rest of you are affiliated with.). I still need to figure out the logistics, but I think I can rework the letter a bit to make it more of a petition, post it on iPetitions.com, and provide a link where folks can go and sign in to support our position. I like this idea a lot. We are all busy humans. If we make it easy to support us, they will.
I don’t want to use the online petition exclusively, though. We can generate an awful lot of attention on multiple levels by sending hard copy letters to our legislators and the CPSC.

I originally planned to put together comments requesting an exemption from the phthalate ban for children’s apparel. But the one for lead testing took me days to put together. I think it will be more time effective to simply rework the AAFA letter and distribute it in the same way as we do the letter I have drafted to request exemption from the third party testing requirement for lead in children’s apparel. I’ll add some of the cost information that Kathleen provided when I do this and some of the same industry stats that I used in the letter for lead testing.

Finally, I plan to write a letter to send to the fabric store chains to alert them of the economic impact this promises to have on their sales. I will post the letter here when I’m done so that you folks can copy and send it to any local fabric stores and fabric store chains that I may not be aware of. So far, I have the mailing addresses for Joann’s and Hobby Lobby. Can’t find one for Hancock.

So, Here’s what I still need to do and what I will need from you:
1. Get comments from forum members on the draft letter posted below by Friday
2. Finalize the letter and repost here for forum members to copy and send
3. Rework it and post it on iPetitions.com; post the link here so that forum members can disseminate it to a wider audience
4. Draft a letter for the fabric stores and post it here for forum members to copy and send to any retail fabric stores they deal with.
5. Rework the AAFA letter re phthalate ban, post it here so that forum members can copy it and send it in as a formal comment (comment period ends on January 12); I may also create an iPetition on this to generate additional support. If so, you will receive a link to distribute.

Draft Letter re: Request for exemption of children's apparel from the Third Party Testing Requirement for lead (Section 102)

[Date]

To [your Congressional Representative(s) and/or Todd A. Stevenson, Secretary, Consumer Product Safety Commission]


Section 102 Third Party Testing of Children’s Products

I am writing on behalf of myself and other small, independent apparel manufacturers throughout the United States to request an immediate formal written opinion to be issued which would specifically exclude children’s apparel from the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) Section 102 Third Party Testing requirement for lead.

We have found very little research to support the notion that lead in textiles presents a significant risk to children. On the contrary, in his presentation to the May 13, 2008 Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) roundtable, Understanding the Pending Legislation and the Use of Lead in Consumer Products, Mr. Hardy Poole makes the argument that the lead content in textiles is actually very low. Mr. Poole, president of the National Textile Association, is considered a leading expert in the textile industry with than 30 years of experience including working with the CPSC on fabric flammability standards.

In his presentation, Mr. Poole cited dyes, dyestuffs and pigments used in coloring fabrics as the primary source of lead in textiles and pointed out that the dyes produced by the major suppliers to the U.S. textile industry are already required to comply with the standards for trace metal impurities. These standards allow a maximum lead content of 100 ppm, well below the CPSC ultimate goal of 300 ppm. Mr. Poole added that these suppliers offer no lead complex dyes and that he knows of no operation in the United States using lead-based pigments in the dyes produced for the textile industry. Currently, there is no lead added to yarns or fabrics manufactured domestically.

Regarding imported textiles, Mr. Poole indicated that the testing of imported fibers and fabrics reveal none or only trace levels of lead.

In addition to the very low levels of lead in dyes, which is already regulated, Mr. Poole indicated that even if trace materials existed in the materials used to produce the textiles, very little would remain on finished fabrics because of the low application levels and the washing that occurs during processing.

The CPSC’s records of product recalls would seem to support this. According to a review conducted by the Finger Lakes Regional Lead Poisoning Prevention Resource Center in Rochester NY of all recalls for lead content between 1994-2007 the CPSC has not issued a single product recall for lead found in the textiles incorporated into children’s apparel. During this period, only five recalls involved apparel products, and the lead in these products was found in zippers, snaps, painted button and surface coatings, not in the textiles themselves.

Given this, we believe that metal, painted plastic, and vinyl components in children’s apparel (painted and/or metal buttons, snaps, zippers, decals, etc.) are adequately regulated under the requirements for third party testing for lead in paint, which become effective on Dec 22, 2008 and that the textiles used in manufacturing children’s apparel, which pose little to no risk to children, should be exempted from the third party testing rule.

To impose third party testing for lead in children’s wearing apparel despite the lack of evidence that lead in textiles poses risk, will put thousands of small apparel manufacturers out of business.

Based on an analysis of 2002 U.S. Census data, which is the most current available for the apparel manufacturing industry, the Cut and Sew Apparel Manufacturing industry, which includes most categories of small manufacturers of infant’s and children’s apparel, is comprised of more than 40,000 companies. Of these, almost 28,000, or 68%, are sole proprietors contributing a total of $900 million to our nation’s economy. Thus, while our businesses are small, they comprise well more than the majority of the apparel manufacturing business in this country.

The costs of this legislation, particularly those associated with the third party testing rules, will disproportionately impact small businesses such as ours and can put us out of business at a time when the economy is least able to absorb it.

For example, solicited quotes for services range in price from $450-$982 per colorway of each style meaning a style with three colorways can cost $3,000. For a manufacturer producing a small line with only ten styles, this can mean $30,000, which amounts to more than the total cost of production or inputs. Overhead costs also increase as testing must apparently be done pre-market meaning one is spending money for compliance costs on styles that may be dropped.

Consider also the numerous home-based businesses that produce children’s apparel in very small quantities, selling directly to the consumer. These businesses commonly produce several styles but in very small quantities. To test for lead in every textile component of each and every style would exponentially increase the costs to produce the garment, which would effectively raise the price well beyond what the market will bear.

In addition to dramatically increasing the cost of manufacturing the extent that many small manufacturers will be put out of business, those that remain will have to pass these costs on to the consumer, increasing prices significantly on necessary goods at a time when consumers are struggling.

By exempting this rulemaking from the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act and the Regulatory Flexibility Act, which would require the CPSC to prepare and make available for public comment an initial regulatory flexibility analysis that describes the impact of the lead content testing rule on small apparel manufacturing businesses, Congress has circumvented the public discourse necessary to ascertain the CPSIA’s impact on small business. The CPSIA ignores the wide variety of small business models that comprise the children’s apparel manufacturing industry and the fact that the majority are indeed small businesses. And, it remains unclear from the information provided by the CPSC whether there will be any formal public comment period provided in which to address our concerns regarding Section 102 Third Party Testing rule as it pertains to lead in children’s apparel.

As a result, many of us will be forced to shut down our operations as a result of the financial burdens imposed by this legislation without having had the opportunity to have our concerns made part of the public record and without the benefit of the transparency necessary to understand the reasoning behind the decisions that are now threatening our livelihoods.

In light of the current economic crises facing the apparel industry and the customers who support it, we are requesting that the CPSC issue an immediate formal written opinion which specifically excludes children’s apparel from the CPSIA Section 102 Third Party Testing Requirements for lead in textiles.

Sincerely,
[Your name or business name]
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Kathleen F.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Jody, that is wonderful. Well, as best as I know. I have forwarded it to the attorney/environmental engineer for her comments.
Jody wrote:
These standards allow a maximum lead content of 100 ppm, well below the CPSC ultimate goal of 300 ppm.

My only comment on the content is what the AAFA spokesperson told me this morning, that the goal is 6ppm. Maybe I misunderstood something.

I agree the ipetition thing is the way to go. We need a compelling title (hint to our marketing people). The maximum title length, including spaces, is 50 characters. Maximum petition length is 1000 words. Jody's letter is 1,144 words.
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J C Sprowls



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some things to consider:

"styles that might be dropped" is too jargon-y. I'd recommend: "disproportionately increased research and development costs, which will, inevitably, passed on to the consumer in some form of increased prices"... something about "an additional burden" "during economic uncertainty"

I think we need to pepper more of "due to economic uncertainty, this decision needs to be expedited as the viability of retail and manufacturing industries is at risk".

I'd add something about the impact of unemployment "as an eventual and definitive end result of this Act" and other notions like that. I mean, even if we only employ 1 or 2 people, multiply that by the number of businesses closing; and, it's significant. If we use broad numbers, closing apparel factories would increase the nat'l unemployment average by about 4% (very rough topside estimate - but, you see where I'm going with this...)

Oh. And, Hancock is defunct.


Last edited by J C Sprowls on Mon Nov 17, 2008 5:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Kathleen F.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is Jennifer's response:
Quote:
Kathleen - As an initial comment, it seems that there is some confusion regarding the applicability of the standards for third party testing. If I am understanding the letter correctly, the letter is to request on exemption for third party testing for the woven fabric. The third party testing requirement for lead paint in children's product comes on line in December - but the rest is much later in 2009. Those requirements have not be subject to a rulemaking effort, which is why she can't find anything. I don't think that this is the appropriate time to submit this letter - it will get lost in the shuffle. Do you want me to post something like that?
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Valerie Burner
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jody- great letter- I agree with the things JC mentioned. Excuse me if I missed something, but is the adult apparel sector no longer an issue? And are iPetitions not really taken seriously? IDK, that's why I'm asking. I just thought I read that somewhere... Kathleen, I think that my Hershey bar had more than 6ppm in it!!! :lol:
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Miracle
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also want to suggest stressing that a large percentage of small manufacturers produce domestically and allude to the impact this would have.
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Esther
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 9:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
leading expert in the textile industry with than 30 years


The letter looks good. I just noticed a missing word in this sentence near the opening. Should read:

leading expert in the textile industry with more than 30 years

BTW, there appears to be some confusion about the lead testing implementation. I have seen two dates, December 2008 and February 2009. I think the later is more likely the correct one.
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Jody
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 5:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all your comments on the letter...keep them coming.

Kathleen,
Can you ask Jennifer when she thinks might be the best time, if any, to submit the letter? I figured since they skated past us without a required public comment period that any time would be as good as another to send it. Unfortunately, without an official public comment period, CPSC is not required to respond and our concerns will not be made part of the public record. So, our comments may well end up in the pile of "hundreds and hundreds of questions" received by CPSC regarding the act.

In other words, Jennifer is probably correct about it getting lost in the shuffle. But, if there isn't going to be an official public comment period, what are we to do?

From Suna's post:
**Total lead (in substrates) – 600 ppm from February 10, 2009 – reduces to 300 ppm effective August 14, 2009 – CPSIA Title I Section 101 - EPA 3050B/EPA3051/EPA 3052 test method for testing – (Children aged 12 and under)

Should we submit the letter in February and then again in August?

Then again, fro reviewing some of the CPSC testing manuals, it appears as though exemptions are sometimes imbedded in the lab requirements instead of in the rules themselves. This being the case, would it be useful to instead focus on the public comment period, if any, that is offered for the accredidation procedures?

I guess I'm at a bit of a loss. Congress handily skirted the requirement for public input on CPSIA so there really doesn't appear to be any really good time to make our comments. On the other hand, since CPSC (as JC has mentioned) has a lot of wiggle room with respect to how the law is implemented, I wonder if sending our comments in, regardless of whether CPSC holds a public comment period may make some sense....may motivate them to provide one if they know the stakes are high. My experience with EPA suggests that federal agencies are sensitive to controversy and moreso if congressional representatives start asking questions. That's EPA, but I can't help but wonder if CPSC is the same in this respect.

Also, I've thought some about whether or not CPSC would take an iPetition seriously. I doubt they will. But, legislators might. Maybe we should focus on getting our message to congressional representatives instead?

Not sure how to proceed, based on Jennifer's comments. Any ideas?
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Valerie Burner
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Suna's post answered my question about adult apparel, but I am still on board for the children's sector. I can't sit here and let these people go out of business without doing something. If this is passed, it's only a matter of time before they expand it to the adult apparel sector. I still think that letters to both representatives and CPSC will be effective.
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Kathleen F.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't want this to go OT because this thread is about activism but:
Valerie Burner wrote:
Suna's post answered my question about adult apparel, but I am still on board for the children's sector.

There's a lot of confusion. I didn't say anything because the point has already been made that adult apparel is not exempt from compliance certification regulations.
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Valerie Burner
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK. I'll go forward with the assumption that adult apparel is still an issue as well. Thanks, Kathleen.
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mhswope
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jody,

I am so impressed with your letter and with the time you've volunteered to get this moving.

If the letter will just get lost in the shuffle, then what's to stop us from sending it AGAIN. In other words, if there's a comment period later, then we send it again later.

Comments on the letter: I hate to say this, but I think it's way too long to be read by busy people. You know they say to keep letters like this to one page. I don't know how you can do this or if anyone even agrees with me, and I also know how hard you've worked to get all this in.

But...I think you could bullet the salient points and keep it to one page. Remember, letters with short paragraphs, dumbed-down language, and white space are much easier to read (and more likely to be read). Think about solicitation letters you get in the mail--are you likely to read 2 pages of pretty heavy paragraphs or 1 page with highlighted (bulleted) remarks and a few short paragraphs?

Again, I'm very impressed with the depth of research you put into this letter, and I so appreciate your work.

Marguerite
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Esther
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see no reason not to send the letter now and a modified version again later. We need to apply pressure now so that the CPSC delays these deadlines for further review. We will need to apply pressure later as the economic impact of the Act becomes more apparent.
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