Price of children's toys could skyrocket because of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008
New CPSIA law may be kiss of death for small businesses.
You may have heard of the new law taking affect on February 10, 2009. This law was created due to the many problems Chinese made toys and children's items created in 2007 — they call that year the "Year of the Recall."
This law may have been intentioned to protect American children from lead and high PCB levels, but what it will actually do is cause havoc in American homes and in our economy. It is a very badly written law, vague and open ended in many ways. Although written with China made products in mind, it is open for any item sold in the USA regardless of where the item was manufactured.
This law requires that any item that comes in contact with a child who is 12-years-old and under, to be tested at a government approved testing facility and have a 'certification' placed on the item. Sounds simple enough, but the fallout is much more intense.
The cost of having a single wood block tested is $150. To have a wooden baby's teething rattle tested would be $4,000. Even books, DVDs, clothing, handmade toys or blankets, children's clothing, the bags items are packed in and sold in, etc. come under this new law. Anything that comes into contact with a child under 12 years of age is required to be tested and certified.
I personally believe there is a hidden agenda in place, but pinning that down is impossible.
For Hope Chest Legacy, every single book title, every type of sewing kit, child's toy, etc. would need to be tested at $4,000 or more per test, per item. Any time an item is altered or a new brand item used (like exchanging DMC embroidery floss for Coats & Clark floss), etc. in a product that has already been approved, it needs to be retested, recertified and I need to pay for it all over again.
Several have mentioned simply increasing the age level for our items, but that has multiple areas to get snagged in. First, it is fairly simple to tell by reading our books that they are written for young children (Grandmother's Hope Chest Series especially) and the kits would be as well. The other books could easily be used with, or handled by, children under 12 if they were purchased for home use. So legally, I would still need to be certified. But also, I could not morally lie and change all the age levels to 13 and up because I know what age I wrote these for, and so does the Lord. I can't hide from Him, even if I can outsmart the government. So changing the age level won't work.
There have been no amendments presented to change this new law. Businesses all over the USA will close because of this new law. Selling used curriculum, children's books, children's clothing items, strollers, car seats, children's toys, etc... will need to cease in the USA. Ebay, AbeBooks.com, thrift stores, boutiques, families who make items to resell from home, all of these businesses and companies will no longer be able to sell items unless the item has a certification.
Goodwill was interviewed about this new law and they said they are not worried, if they need to stop selling infant and children's items they will — it only adds up to about 10% of their sales (in other words, they are not fighting against this law either and will simply stop selling items that could get them into trouble.)
If someone is caught selling an item without the item being certified, it is a 2-year prison sentence plus a $100,000 fine.
Even books, DVDs, clothing, handmade toys or blankets, children's clothing, the bags items are packed in and sold in, etc. come under this new law.
Many people have not heard about this new law yet. Those who have are either worried, or sceptical that this will happen and how it will be enforced. The truth is the law has already been passed in Congress (August 2008). It goes into effect February 10th, 2009. It is already the law...
Because big business is able to afford the testing, they are not worried. Also, they will bring in more sales when smaller companies are no longer in business, so this is actually good news to them. Less competition, more income for them.
The homeschool community may come to a virtual standstill. All homeschool based companies are considered small (many are family run — even the big ones are not as 'big' as most in the business world), and will not be able to afford the testing — and they will not be able to sell the items they have in stock in order to reprint on certified paper. Families will not be able to buy or sell used curriculum because it has not been certified. I have no doubt the homeschool community will find a way around all this, including more downloadable items or 'teachers manuals' with reproducible workbook pages, etc.
One of the problems that is already being seen, is that in order to be 'certified' the cost of the items being sold will be increased dramatically. The leading German company that produces wooden toys and sells a large number in the USA has already closed down all sales here as of December 31, 2008. They said they would need to increase their prices by 50% in order to continue selling their items with certificates in place, and that would cause the product price to be so high it would be out of the market range and customers would not purchase the toys.
The same holds true for companies here in the USA. The cost of books printed on certified paper will increase — which means higher costs for customers in an already stretched economy. Even if Hope Chest Legacy could afford to print on certified paper (which at this point we can't), we could not afford to have each of our kits tested and certified — and retested and certified if we had to switch brands or exchange items in the kits for something similar.
We are, as many others are in the USA right now, praying and hoping an amendment can be added to this new law that would allow items made in the USA to be free from testing. So far, the only amendment we have heard of has fizzled out and there are no others forthcoming.
What does this mean? It means that Hope Chest Legacy will be closing — simply putting this in writing is extremely difficult for me and a very emotional situation to be facing (as well as financial for my family). We will remain open until January 31st, 2009 before making the final decision to close — but at this point, we will not have a choice.
If you have ever wanted to purchase any of our items, now is the time. Once this law goes into affect, our books will never be able to be sold new or used either online or in your local areas. The consignment items we offer will also be stopped.
We are hoping and praying something happens and soon, but so far all is very quiet. I am praying about whether to continue with Hope Chest Legacy solely with online downloads (I would love feedback from our customers on whether this would be something you would support). I won't have a decision any time soon. Our website will continue to be an online presence but I am not sure what we can offer other than downloadable products.
I do not walk in a spirit of fear, nor in a spirit of panic or hysteria — I am calm, practical and level-headed. But I have researched this new law, I have joined in discussions, I have called my state representatives, I have called the Consumer Product Safety agency, and I will continue to monitor all this very carefully...and make that final decision on January 31.
I will update with any additional information I find. But for now, Hope Chest Legacy will close January 31 if nothing changes, although we may possibly continue with downloadable items after that date. We will see as the time draws nigh.
This is not just about our company either — it is about ANY company or business in the USA that sells items geared for children 12 and under — or whose items may have contact with children 12 and under. Many families will be affected by this law, both in not having income by making and selling products from home — or from the higher cost of purchasing items that have been forced to be 'certified'. So this also affects you too. YOU will be paying much more for items you purchase for your children and home.
Let us join together in prayer that God could bring people into positions to create changes or alter this new law!