About two years ago (egads, I’ve been at this that long!), I wrote about the Handmade Toy Alliance’s battle against the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). The CPSIA is, in theory, a great thing — it ensures that the toys (and various other items marketed for children like cribs, cloth diapers, or clothes) are safe. But the original legislation didn’t take into account the small micro-businesses that would be put out of business trying to comply with the costly mandatory testing. Ironically, these benign small businesses are the ones who uphold the standards for safety and wholesomeness the CPSIA asks for, manufacturing handmade toys and products in small batches from naturally non-toxic materials like wood and cotton. Just because they can’t afford to be approved safe, doesn’t mean they’re not.
Recently, an amendment drafted by the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade has been endorsed by the HTA; this amendment would provide an exemption for small-batch products. While this is certainly a step in the right direction, they’re not there yet according to my friend Kate Glynn (a HTA board member). If you’d like to help, here are a few ways you can do so:
Email Senator Charles Schumer (representatives and senators in some states have specifically asked to hear from you, their constituents). Let him know you support the efforts of the Handmade Toy Alliance and why. (View sample letters on the HTA Web site.) Or, send an email to Stacey Ettinger.
The HTA accepts donations to help fund travel expenses as it lobbies congress for reform of the CPSIA. Members have been testifying at the ongoing Congressional hearing. You can donate through the Web site here.
Continue supporting small business!
Green Living Tip of the Week:
Did you know that washing your clothes in cold water is just as effective as hot, and uses a measly fraction of the energy? (If they’re heavily soiled, warm water is a happy compromise). To take your laundry habits even deeper into the green, switch to a natural detergent like Charlie’s or Seventh Generation; use a front-loading washer (which uses less water than the top-loading kind); and whenever possible, dry your clothes on a line outside.