Background - In response to unsafe children's products imported into the US (and Canada/Europe last year), the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) (PL 110-787) was passed by Congress in August of 2008. The unsafe children's products, including toys and clothes, contained (among other things) high, unsafe levels of lead and other toxic chemicals. Production of these goods was mainly outsourced to China by large US toy and clothing manufacturers and then sold through US retailers. It has been established that the lead and chemicals were added or included in these products at the foreign factory without the manufacturers' or retailers' prior knowledge or consent. The legislation includes specific, rigorous testing procedures which manufacturers are required to adopt beginning Feb. 10, 2009. This legislation provides needed relief to large companies who were blindsided by their suppliers overseas. However, because of the cost, compliance will almost certainly cripple small and mid-sized North American and European green companies. In the vast majority of cases, because of the nature of their businesses, small to mid-sized organic clothing companies and green handmade/ small batch toy makers already exceed the safety standards established by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. These small, wonderful companies will either go out of business or price their products entirely out of reach of the average consumer if they are subjected to the same testing procedures as large multi-nationals. Urge your members of Congress today to work with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to develop a pragmatic approach to the implementation of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. Strengthening our product safety system is an important goal, and one which can be achieved realistically if regulations are addressed in an intelligent and sensitive manner - i.e. find an affordable way for small to mid-sized organic, green clothing and toy makers to comply with the law.
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