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Tuesday
May112010

Amend the CPSIA and save the vibrant p2p e-commerce community

I'm not usually much of an activist, but this is a micro-cause worth fighting for. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act needs to be amended to exempt small-batch toy producers from draconian testing requirements that were created in response to unethical massive toy distributors but will serve to make much of the safe, handmade market illegal.

In its current form, the bill advantages large Chinese-based firms that mass-produce toys and kills small home-based shops where personal care is put into every item. The latter simply cannot afford the marginal cost of testing each item.

From the Handmade Toy Alliance:

The CPSIA simply forgot to exclude the class of children's goods that have earned and kept the public's trust: Toys, clothes, and accessories made by small businesses where the owners are personally involved in the creation of their goods.  The result, unless the law is modified, is that handmade children's products will no longer be legal in the US.

A good summary of the arguments can be found here on Etsy's blog. I've followed the developments beginning here when the bill first passed the house, here when the community scored a temporary win in convincing the regulatory commission to put a one year stay on implementation, and here as the Handmade Toy Alliance sought to rally the artistic and crafting community to a unified approach to repeal. As I've said before, it's time for the law to recognize that an online community of trust can incentivize better behavior than the threat of government recall.

Graphic: Hilary Williams of Blynken & Nod

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