and parents
and those who appreciate handmade products
and those generally ticked off by stupidity

If you haven’t heard yet (seems implausible…but just in case) the Consumer Product Safety Commission has new legislation pending: Bill Number H.R.4040 for the 110th Congress here’s the ‘more readable’ version: http://www.cpsc.gov/ABOUT/Cpsia/cpsia.html

This legislation is really, really poorly thought out.

Here are some places to go to learn more about this:

http://www.handmadetoyalliance.org/Home

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=a0Xr2Iw1Vi_8&refer=us

http://nationalbankruptcyday.com/

Especially beneficial to understanding this issue, I believe, is that first link, the one for the Handmade Toy Alliance. The links that they provide are useful in understanding the full implications of this legislation.

So basically, as I understand it, this impacts most things (toys, clothes, jewelry…) that is meant for children under 12 years old.

In response to a few dangerous, mass-produced products, legislation has been created that essentially eliminates the handmade toy cottage industry in the U.S. I say essentially elminates because the testing requirements will put many of these artisans out of business. And many of the large companies that produce quality children’s products outside the U.S. will simply decide to no longer sell things here — Selecta has already made this decision…others are sure to follow.

This would be bad enough if it were only the toy industry. But it is not. This legislation, as I understand it, will also impact the thrift store industry.

Here’s one of those areas where I hope the environmentalists will get involved. Many of us choose to buy from thrift and resale stores because, while being easier on the budget, it is easier on the planet. We choose to buy our childrens’ clothes at Once Upon a Child because reusing clothes is a better use of resources than going to the store for brand new ones. (Not to mention that new clothes are frequently treated with chemicals to make them look fresher, longer…blech…I don’t want these chemicals on my childrens’ skin.)

So in a time of recession (when every budgetary decision is being rethought and reevaluated)  and in a time of planetary crisis (when every resource decision should be carefully considered) we have a bit of awful legislation that will destroy family budgets, increase the use of resources, and put many small businesses out of business.

Brilliant.

What can we do? The Handmade Toy Alliance has links to representatives and form letters one can use for communication.

Be vigilant.
Be bothersome.
Be a consistent squeaky wheel.

Start by using all legal means to work within the system to prevent this awful legislation from taking effect.

Should it take effect, as written, I say that it’s time for some good ole civil disobedience.

We need to vote with our dollars and continue to support these businesses that are providing quality, handmade products for our children and all the dear ones out there. We need to support the businesses that survive by re-cycling toys, clothes, household goods…everything.

We need to support these businesses, also, by contributing to legal funds so that they can fight for their own survival.

I bet most readers of this blog have already committed acts of civil disobedience in one form or another (and, no, speeding doesn’t count.)

Me? I utilized midwives for my last pregnancy, in Indiana, where non-CNMs operate in a legal ‘no-woman’s-land’ of somewhere between alegal and illegal. Why? Am I a rebel? Hardly. I did what was right for me and my family and made the determination that I would not be prevented from doing such by stupid legislation.

I also buy raw milk every week. This isn’t illegal. Yet. But it is something that some governmental entities are interested in stopping. To protect me. Blech.

I use homeopathic remedies for myself and my children. Am I practicing medicine without a license? Hardly. I am railing against a medical establishment that thinks they are ‘all that’ and that all other modalities are wrong.

I will continue to buy homemade toys and used clothes for my children. At least for as long as I can.

I will contribute to a fund to fight this stupid legislation.

I will continue to say that none of us should be limited or controlled by stupid legislation.

Send this bill back to the drawing board.

I will not support it and I will be disobedient in every way possible until it is scrapped for good.

with intensity,
Mary

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