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Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA)

Thursday, January 01, 2009

The intention behind it is wonderful and great. Make sure our kids our safe. Protect them from products which inflict harm. As a mom of an infant you know I am all about keeping my children safe. I am tired of worrying that his plastic ducky or teething toys may contain something that hurts him. I am tired of finding out that my daughter's toys have been painted with lead paint.

But, this act is written in such a way that it will put every small manufacturer of products for children out of business. What it says is that you have to get every single end product tested for lead & phthalates. There are no exceptions. If you make an organic cotton dress and dye it each style and each colorway must be tested. Tests start around $600. To test an abbrievated line might run close to 20k. I would no longer be able to offer 40,000+ combinations of images on tees. Can you imagine getting that tested?

With this law coming I had prepared by seeking out (hard to find!) a manufacturer that produced phthalate free transfers. We started purchasing them in October of 2008. We were the first to purchase them from this manufacturer as they had just cleared them. We do not print with plastisol but print all our shirts with water-based inks...the oasis line from Wilflex....although we are looking into the Rutland inks as these seem to be a bit easier to manage and we hate doing discharge. Stinky.

Our fabrics are sustainable, our thread is cotton, we hand-dye our products using a low-impact dye and we make everything here in Portland, OR. But, we are not excluded from this forced testing. Guess who the idiot was that signed this act into being?

As a small manufacturer I don't mind getting all my products tested but shouldn't it be done at a component level? Does it make sense for me to get my various styles tested if they all use the same fabrics, zippers, elastic, snaps and dyes? What a waste of $! If everything I use passes certification wouldn't it make sense to assume that the end product is free of these harmful chemicals? What is logical about asking small struggling businesses to bear the cost of making sure our society is safe? If every end product is tested can you imagine there even being enough labs to do the testing? Can you imagine how they are going to enforce this act?!

But, Rebecca came up with a brilliant solution to all of this. If this act does not get amended in March so that we can continue to make and sell our products we are changing the name of our site to Midgetwit.com. I hope that url isn't taken yet.

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