November 30, 2008

New Toy Safety Law Threaten the Specialty & Natural Toy Industry

Thanks to our friends over at Challenge & Fun, we've learned some nerve wracking news about the impact of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act on the specialty and natural toy industry. In other words, the impact on OUR TOYS!

Please read what Challenge & Fun passed along . . .

"While many have celebrated the passage of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act and the improved standards (which we also commend), few are aware of the expensive and cumbersome compliance rules that being imposed on small businesses, which supply the bulk of the nations natural & specialty toys, which have impeccable records and add great diversity to available toys. Without such companies, we will be left with mass producers of Chinese toys. This is truly a case of unintended consequences.

Here are examples of what the Act will change, and therefore, cause:

Testing: Rather than requiring testing methods that would aggregate like products, or allow paints to be tested once, or testing a textile once, the 3rd party testing required beginning in February states that each product style must be tested. So, for instance, let's say you are Holztiger. You have 5 vats of paint, and all the same wood. One could test the paint and wood before making the product at a reasonable price. One could even test representative final products. But the rule states that EACH style must be separately tested, regardless of materials used. So, they must test the large lion, the small lion, the cat, the standing cow, the sitting cow...etc...hundreds of tests each costing hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. Unfortunately most small manufacturers do not sell enough of a single item to pay for such tests. However, large corporations do...especially those manufacturing in China.Remember, this has nothing to do with compliance to the "safety standards" (which we already meet or surpass) but everything to do with being able to pay for the multiple tests to prove compliance.

Markings: All products manufactured after August 12th, must have markings on the package and permanent markings on the product indicating where, by whom, and when the product was made. Large corporations can afford purchasing multiple dies to do this. Small companies cannot. European companies with limited sales to the USA likewise cannot.There are many small manufacturers across the country (yes! Toys ARE still made in America) that are going to simply be unable to cope with the new regulations. Many importers of quality toys will either have to dramatically reduce their product selection (or get out of the toy business altogether). This not only affects toys, but also any product designed for children (ages 12 and under), including clothing. It will also mean the end of most FAIR TRADE children's products that are being imported into the country. Do you like to sell unique, hard to find products? Do you want quality toys and children's products to be available to our children? We need to make our voices heard.

WE NEED YOUR HELP before it is too late. I really don't want to wake-up a year from now to a world of Walmart's & plastic toys from China. What can you do? We need your help to educate your customers about the pending extinction of natural & specialty toys. You can talk to them, hand out flyers (we hope to have some made very soon that will be available to download from our website), have them sign petitions, contact your Senator & Congressman, etc. If you have an e-newsletter, please pass this information on to your customers. Join the Handmade Toy Alliance and a brand new website, CPSIA-Central that has been formed to pull the various stake holders together in one forum. Become a member and have your say. Make suggestions, exchange ideas. This is your chance to shine!Please don't sit back and say someone else will do it. Much of the damage has been done because our voices haven't been heard. This means that at this point we need every single voice to help educate their customers and lobby the government to make changes to save the small businesses that sell beautiful children's products. You don't need to have all the answers, you just need to know there is a major problem, and make a stink about it."

Please help save the specialty and natural toy industry! We need it!


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