How CPSIA hits one small business owner

After I wrote my post yesterday on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act and the not-so-subtle warning to private resellers at yard sales and church bazaars, I received an interesting e-mail from Suzi Lang, the owner of Star Bright Baby.  Suzi hand-makes toys and teething rings for babies and toddlers, but her business is now in jeopardy, thanks to the badly-written CPSIA.  Suzi explains in her e-mail:

Hi Ed-

Thanks for posting about the CPSIA.  Garage Sale police aren’t the only insane parts of this law…  I make and sell small stuffed teething giraffes for babies (or anyone else cutting a tooth).  My giraffes are made from 100% cotton fabric, stuffing made from a synthetic fiber made from corn, and thread.  That’s it.  Nothing toxic about that, right?  Well, according to the law, I have to lead test each batch of giraffes I make.  I make them in batches of 10-12 because I’m a small time producer (and I get bored easily).  That’s about $300-500 per batch.  BUT I also have to test them for a plastic additive called Phthalates because the item is intended to go in a baby’s mouth.  Never mind the fact that there is nothing plastic in any of the materials I use to make my giraffes.  That’s about $800-1200 per batch.  Now you’re talking a pretty expensive teething toy.

I testified before a subcommittee of the Small Business Committee in the house in May, and there have been some exceptions made to the law by the CPSC in how they’re going to enforce it, but the law also deputizes every single state Attorney General to go after offenders.  By law I’m still not in compliance.

The sad thing is that this hits little old ladies that make blankies and lovies to give away to kids in the ER.  And the little hats they knit for newborns in the hospital.  It hits small potatoes businesses like mine who already make safe products.  It’s sad, really.  And the law does absolutely nothing to keep kids safer than they were under the original lead laws.

Oh, and the companies like Mattel who imported all the lead-tainted toys that started this fuss?  They get to police themselves.  Awesome, huh?

Thanks again for highlighting this stupid law on Hotair.

–Suzi Lang
Starbright Baby Teething Giraffes

The big manufacturers and importers get to police themselves.  Suzi, on the other hand, has to pay a fortune to test her products even though she knows exactly what goes into them.  Gee, I can feel my granddaughters getting safer already!

Suzi also sent me a link to her Congressional testimony from May:

Suzi also sent a copy of her opening statement; you can download it as a PDF here.