Tag Archives: cpsia

Taking Care of the Kids – CPSIA Style!

If the government can overreact, so can I! It’s time to clean house and make sure there are no toys, books, clothing or anything else that might contain lead or phthalates. Nothing in my home has been tested; how do I know my children are safe?

The only solution is to start cleaning it all out. After all, it could be toxic and it’s for the children’s safety!

Time to Clean House, CPSIA Style!

Let’s start with the things we have for my soon to be here baby. May as well get her off to a healthy start. Goodness knows my other kids are probably contaminated already.

Handmedown clothes. Well, so much for those. I have no idea what’s in them.

Come to think of it, her few new outfits and cloth diapers haven’t been certified so far as I know. Oh well. Do I really want to use disposables? I guess we’ll have to try elimination communication with baby.

Oh crap, the potty hasn’t been tested. This is going to take some work.

Toys. Oh my. Toys. Let’s see… handmedown, handmedown, handmedown, new but has it been tested? Really can’t tell yet.

Crib, cradle, what about my rocking chair? I’ve used them all for each of my kids. Then there’s the stroller and car seat. Not to mention my other kids’ beds. Is there any place safe for them to sleep? Can we even go anywhere safely if I don’t know what the car seats are made of?

Awww! Books! I like my supply of baby books! But how can I know if they’re safe? Even libraries are worried. Not to mention my books for my older kids.

OMG! The older kids! Can I even send them to school? Will the schools do enough testing to keep my kids safe? They have books there too!

Guess we’ll just have to start all over with all the kids’ stuff.

Maybe that’s the idea! Stimulate the economy by making people buy all new stuff to protect their kids! Too bad lots of manufacturers will go under because they can’t keep up with expenses. The price of safety, right? Surely we can cope with the scarcity created and cost of extra testing by paying more.

And don’t worry about the landfills. Or do. There’s an awful lot to be thrown out if companies don’t want to or can’t afford to test their products.

I wonder what it would cost to test the house. Can’t be too careful, after all.

Ending on a Serious Note

Ooh, sounds important, doesn’t it?

But seriously, read up on CPSIA directly from the CPSC site if you’re concerned. It’s confusing at times, boring as can be to read, but a much better source for information than any secondhand, unofficial interpretation. It’s still miserably written, and no doubt will have a major impact on small and home businesses that produce children’s products, but keep an eye out for good bits such as:

Will infants’ crib bedding, blankets, bath textiles, and apparel fall under the heading of “durable product”?

No. Congress did not define the term “durable,” but it is commonly understood to mean able to exist for a long time without significant deterioration. Cloth/textile items are generally not considered to be durable goods. None of the items Congress specified in section 104 as examples of durable products are items made entirely of cloth, rather they are primarily made from rigid materials (e.g., cribs, toddler beds, high chairs, strollers, bath seats).

Do the phthalate limits apply to children’s shoes or socks?

Shoes and socks are not considered to be children’s toys or child care articles.

All that said, I really think the targeting should have been more focused. The problem products have not generally come from small or home based businesses; for lead the problem has often been Chinese imports. A better look at the standards of where we are getting children’s products from, and rules about what we will accept would make more sense than CPSIA. Not to mention a better time frame for things companies haven’t had to test for before.

Are You Doing Too Little?

This whole mess with CPSIA has me thinking about what people are doing to encourage others to be more green. Are you doing enough?

Green activism can take many forms. It can be persuading less green relatives to do things like bring reusable bags to the store or to tell them about things they can recycle. It can be contacting your representatives on topics that matter to you. It can be participating in local cleanup efforts. It can be teaching your kids to pick up the trash they see as they walk home from school.

However much you do, it’s entirely possible that someone else will tell you that you should do more. That you should get rid of x,y and z from your home because they’re terrible for you and your family. That you’re shopping at the wrong store or paying attention to the wrong cause.

I firmly believe that these are deeply personal decisions. It’s tough finding ways to do all the things you feel are important, never mind what others find to be more important.

Can individuals make a difference anyhow?

Yes, absolutely! It’s more challenging, and the average difference is smaller than when businesses and government gets involved, but who gets those going in the first place? Groups of individuals.

If there are things you wish you could be doing, but just don’t have the time and/or resources to manage it just now, take note of them. Just because the time isn’t now doesn’t mean the time will never come.

Will Natural Toys Be Almost Illegal?

A new rule from the Consumer Products Safety Commission will bring this awfully close to the truth. The rule is called CPSIA, and I was first alerted to it by this post on Eco Child’s Play.

The problem is that this rule mandates third party testing for all toys, and labeling with a date and batch number. The testing would be up to $4000 per toy.

This is overkill. The problems with lead paint and such haven’t been so much with toys made by individuals, or toys made in the U.S., Canada and Europe. The rules for manufacturing toys in many of these places make such testing unnecessary, and quite burdensome to smaller companies.

What can you do?

Write to your Congressperson here, Senator and the CPSC. Tell them what you think. The Handmade Toy Alliance has a sample letter that I found linked at the Eco Child’s Play site.

All of this is so frustrating to see. We have the FDA doing a lousy job protecting us, and now the CPSC going into overkill, which will be bad for small businesses. Sometimes you just can’t win either way. But you can register your disagreement and try to make a change.