In February, 2009, a new law, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act , goes into affect. The purpose of this law is to require all toys sold in the U.S. to be tested by a third party to certify that they contain no lead or other hazardous materials. This Act is aimed at the proliferation of toys imported into the U.S. from China and elsewhere that have made so much news in the past couple of years...imported from countries that do not have the restrictions on hazardous materials in raw materials that we have in the U.S.
The CPSIA will require that a prototype of each toy be tested, with the testing running into four figures for each toy. If a company makes a toy truck, the toy truck must be tested. If the same company makes a toy car from the same materials, the car must be tested...and so on for each particular toy.
A consequence of this Act, which was aimed primarily at foreign exporters, is that it also applies to you and me; it applies to anyone making toys or any other device that is intended for use by any child under the age of 12, or that could reasonably be contacted by a child under the age of 12. The end result will be to make it illegal for any craftsman, home hobbyist, etc. to make for sale any toy without having that toy tested regardless of the materials used in that toy. The toy must be tested and certified as free from hazardous materials even if all materials used in the construction of the toy have individually been certified as safe by independent testing.
What this means for anyone making toys for sale is that a toy made from a piece of solid maple with zero finish must be tested and certified free of hazardous materials, even if the only material in the toy is maple. A wooden puzzle made from maple, then details painted on with certified lead free paints must be tested and certified. A doll house made from maple and cherry, then finished with a food grade shellac must be tested and certified. A doll made from scraps of the same material a child's dress is made from must be tested...You get the idea.
I understand and agree with the intent of the CPSIA...to stop the importing of products loaded with hazardous materials used in some parts of the world, but prohibited in the U.S. (and, I assume, Canada). That was the intent of the law. The unintended consequence, though, is to all but eliminate the production of toys by hobbyists like us who may sell a few of our toys at craft shows in order to pay for our hobby or to make a few extra bucks. Again, even though the individual materials we use have been certified as safe for sale and use in the U.S., the completed product made with these previously certified safe materials will be considered illegal to sell unless the individual product is tested and certified at the maker's expense.
Botom line...this act, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, will make criminals out of every one of us who makes a toy truck or rocking horse or doll house for children. I know this does not apply directly to everyone here, but should be a concern to everyone. This is a well intentioned act that was not thought out completely, and will have consequences for cottage industries and hobbyists all across the U.S. If the raw materials each are already certified as being safe, it is completely illogical to require testing of the end product.
Forturnately, it is not too late to act. Almost, but not quite too late. The CPSC commission is requesting input on desired changes, exceptions, etc. to this Act. The text of their request for input is available at the pdf link posted below. Even if you do not make toys, I strongly urge you to write to this commission supporting an exception to this Act if the toys made are made entirely with materials that are already tested and approved for sale in the U.S.
Please get involved. Toymakers should be a treasured part of our heritage, not criminalized for making a toy truck.
Information can be found at http://www.cpsc.gov/ABOUT/Cpsia/Comp...tsComments.pdf
p.s. The e-mail link within the pdf document did not link directly. If you choose to e-mail your comment, you will need to cut and paste the link into your e-mail address line