Thursday, December 18, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
|TBW Statement Opposing the Consumer Product Safety Commission Improvement Act|
| There is little more important than keeping children safe. However, The Babywearer is gravely concerned about the impact of the pending Consumer Product Safety Commission Improvement Act. We believe that if this Act is enforced, there will be serious economic consequences on the child/baby product industry, and specifically to manufacturers of babycarriers.|
The Act would require ALL manufacturers - including small business owners who sew their products by hand and artisans who sell to help support their art - to submit each piece of their product for cost-prohibitive government-approved testing. Each component - buttons, threads, fabrics, padding, etc. would need to be tested independently for lead content. The cost and extent of this lead testing would be impossible for any small business to afford.
Thousands of small businesses will be forced to close. Consumers will have fewer products to choose from. In the babycarrier world, the only products that will remain will be ones those that are manufactured en masse - and are widely considered inferior to those made in smaller quantities.
The date that CPSIA is set to be enforced has already earned a nickname by many experts: "National Bankruptcy Day."
Please write to your Senators and Congressperson and express your concern about the CPSIA.
About the bill:
Read more about what's being dubbed National Bankruptcy Day here:
Imagine Christmas morning without Selecta, Haba, Sarah's Silks, Etsy toys, or American toys from small, creative mom-and-pop natural toy companies. It reminds one of the Grinch who stole Christmas—and unfortunately, it is days away from coming to pass. That's why we desperately need your help to contact your representatives in Congress and share your concerns.
Parents everywhere have been deeply concerned and up in arms about the unsafe state of toys in the USA. We've been happy to see laws formed to ensure more safety for children everywhere. It's been disappointing to find out that the law is not retroactive—but now, there is even more disappointment at hand. The new testing protocols will ironically hurt and undermine the one group that has been a toy safety advocate for children all along: safe, principled, small and independent toymakers and sellers.
The new toy safety law, if not amended, will require every toymaker (including the ones we love so much on Etsy) to test each toy at a cost of $500 to $1500 per toy. European toy companies will also have to retest their toys, at the same expense, with a company that tests to American standards. This sounds fair, until you consider that Europe has an established, exceptionally thorough and successful testing system in place, and the tests would be redundant.
Increased toy safety is absolutely the right direction for our country; however, a poorly nuanced law like this one, as it stands, will devastate the very best parts of the toy industry and leave only companies like Mattel and Fisher Price standing. Please write and/or call your representative to share your concern.
Here's an example: Holztiger is a beloved German toy company that produces wooden animals and figures, painted with clean, non-toxic paints. If they were to meet this new law's testing requirements, instead of only having to test a vat of paint, which could be applied to 300 different animals, they have to test each animal or figure individually. A small company like Holztiger would have to spend $150,000 to $450,000 to test 300 toys. And this would need to be done on a regular basis—at least annually, but possibly with each production run.
Sarah's Silks is a beloved and popular source for playsilks, canopies, and more. They produce their silks in a Chinese village within a program that allows mothers to be work-at-home-moms. Sarah's Silks also runs a Waldorf school in China with the proceeds from its business. They would need to test each color silk four times, given the four components of the playsilk.
Yesterday, Selecta, a German natural toy company, announced that they will no longer sell their toys in the USA. "This is just the beginning of the disappearance of natural toys in the USA," said Rob Wilson of Challenge and Fun, an online natural toy store.
Says Adam Frost of TheWoodenWagon.com, "We are very selective in the manufacturers we work with. In our discussions with these workshops, we've been told by many that they are satisfied that their toys and stuffed animals meet or exceed all safety standards, and that they would not be able to bear the expense of testing. (The same of course is true for small American manufacturers who produce their goods in this country.) This would in effect cut off the supply of all those toys that have been held up as exemplars of good craftsmanship, the imaginative and natural toys to which many parents have turned since the lead scares began to happen a year or more ago."
Thursday, December 11, 2008
A SCHOOLBOY was so captivated when he heard an Irish folk story that he re-told it to win a national storytelling competition for children and a prize of a trip to New York.
Tomos Turtle aged nine, from Abersoch, was one of six finalists from all over the UK and Ireland in the competition to celebrate the National Year of Reading.
He first heard the story of Michael and the Fairies when his parents Margot and Martin took him and his sister Mali to a storytelling evening in Harlech.
And in true storytelling tradition he then stood up and related the magical tale in front of a panel of authors, storytellers and around 60 guests at independent children’s publisher Barefoot Books’ UK head office in Bath.
Now Tomos will jet to New York with his family to tell the tale on Barefoot Books’ Storytellers Throne in famous toy store FAO Schwarz.
His efforts have also won £1,000 worth of Barefoot books to be shared between the Ysgol Sarn Bach Primary School where he is a pupil and his former primary in Abersoch.
Tomos’ mum Margot said her son’s prize was a tribute to the teaching at small schools in Wales – so often under closure threats.