My Congressman works for me

I don’t know how many of you are aware of the CPSIA or the potential issues this legislation will cause for small businesses, or even the economy as a whole.  I have been writing to my Senators and Representatives ever since I realized that the solution may do as much harm as the problem where this is concerned….and it’s not only small artisan businesses who will be affected….it’s all of us.

It’s not just small Artisans and custom manufacturers who will be forced to close our doors if this Law (enacted before regulations were even written) is implemented in its current form. All of us will be affected by the Law. Not that I feel the need to “defend” corporations…but if we think about the implications on ALL American families, not only the livelihood of each Artisan (though personally, that is my most immediate concern) we have a lot to fight for. Large manufacturers will be affected as well, and we’ll all have to pay more for unnecessary and unrealistic testing requirements.

Affordable toys and clothing may be a thing of the past. Our entire economy will suffer. Our buying power will decrease, and those who purchase our beautifully-made toys and clothing and toys will have less to spend, because the “basics” will cost disproportionally more.

Also, large European manufacturers, whose products would comply with the CPSIA anyway due to their stricter testing, will pull out of our market (some already have!) because the expense to re-test their toys and clothing will make selling in the US cost-prohibitive.

This battle is not just for the small Artisan, but rather the entire industry, and it will behoove us to ensure that the regulations are written so that we can ALL participate in the market space, making safe and wonderful toys and garments for our children.

I received a form letter from my Senator Debbie Stabenow, which not only did NOT address, my concerns, but appeared that she did not even take the time to read my letter.

Conversely, my Representative McCotter has consistently responded to my concerns from water quality in Michigan, to this very important issue.   I am heartened that Rep. McCotter has taken our issues seriously, and will actually represent me (and all of us who share my concerns).  I find the repeated references to “communist China” to be a bit strange, bt other than that, I’m encouraged that someone elected is on our side. Following is his letter:

Dear Ms. Lepage:
Thank you for informing me of your concerns regarding the recently enacted Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).  Your thoughts on this important matter are most welcome and appreciated.

As you know, in 2007, there was an increased number of recalls on children’s toys and other consumer products. Furthermore, forty nine percent (49%) of the recalled toys included lead hazards. In 1972, Congress created the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to protect the public against unreasonable risks of injuries associated with consumer products. Thereafter, the CPSC decreased the death and rate of injuries from consumer products by over thirty percent (30%). Importantly, four fifths (4/5) of CPSC recalls involved communist China-made consumer products. In 2007, roughly eighteen million (18 million) communist China-made toys were recalled for excessive lead levels; nine million (9 million) were recalled for loose magnets, and one million (1 million) toy ovens were recalled for finger entrapment and burn hazards.
To improve the safety of consumer products, on November 1, 2007, Representative Bobby Rush (IL) introduced H.R. 4040, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).  As enacted, this legislation bans lead from children’s products; mandates third party testing of children’s toys; increases funding authorization for the CPSIA to $100 million by Fiscal Year (FY) 2011; and increases the cap on civil awards from $1.83 million to $10 million.  On December 19, 2007, with my support the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4040 by a bi-partisan vote of 407-0. Subsequently, on March 6, 2008, the Senate passed this legislation with an amendment by a bi-partisan vote of 79 – 13.  On August 14, 2008, President Bush signed H.R. 4040 into law (PL 110-314).

As per your specific concern, it has become apparent there are several issues with components of this law, primarily with regards to lead regulations and third party testing.  On February 10, 2009, the new ban on lead in children’s products will come into effect; however, the CPSC has ruled this requirement will include both goods made on or after this date and any goods in inventory.  Thus, this regulation will be applied retroactively.  Furthermore, the CPSC has delayed in providing guidelines as to how new lead regulations will apply to garments and footwear, making it difficult for those in this industry to begin compliance.  In regards to the new third party testing requirements, there are concerns the fees charged by third party testers will be a considerable financial burden on many small toymaker businesses.  At present, no legislation has been introduced in the 110th Congress to address these issues within the CPSIA.

Rest assured, I will well remember your thoughts on this important issue during the remainder of the 110th Congress as well as the 111th Congress.

Again, thank you for contacting me; and for all you do for our community and our country. Should you have any further comments or questions on this or any other issue, please contact me at the Livonia or Milford district or Washington
I work for you.

Sincerely,
Thaddeus G. McCotter
Member of Congress

If you wish to contact your representatives, you can write to them all at once here:

http://capwiz.com/americanapparel/issues/alert/?alertid=12274476

Find out more about how this law will affect us here
or here.

If you are on Facebook, you can support the cause by joining here

Also, you can go to Change.org, and put this issue on Mr. Obama’s plate.

Thanks, on behalf of all of us who create for children.

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2 Comments

Filed under activism, community, sewing, work

2 responses to “My Congressman works for me

  1. Good for you Karen. I am a bit lost on this entire issue. I have not spent enough time on this issue and I know I should. It is very depressing so I am avoiding it until I get the time to read more.
    The thought of closing my shop is just terrible. I have enjoyed sewing for the public, and I have enjoyed the extra income as well. I just ordered 4 bolts of fabric for Easter.
    I noticed your new shop. Do you like it? Did you close your Etsy shop? I have been on vacation for the last two weeks, so I could relax with the kids during this hectic time. I feel like I live in my car lately. LOL. Anyways, how is it going for you? Your creations are so beautiful and Ella is becoming such an adorable little girl. I know you are proud of her.
    I hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

  2. It’s amazing how many letters we’re getting back like this -assuming they respond at all. I’ll add yours to my collection. Btw, thanks for publicizing this! May I also suggest visiting the War Room for up to the minute updates and focused activism? http://tinyurl.com/5fhzbd. My site is focusing on education and activism for producers of sewn products. There’s tons of solid information there from attorneys and scientists. You won’t find any mythinformation there.

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