In August I posted with celebration about the passing of the Safe Toy Bill – a bill which legislates high standards and mandatory testing for lead and phthalate contamination in products (like clothes and toys) designed for children. Late this fall the sad fact has emerged that, unless amended, the Safe Toy Bill will cause handmade toys and many European toys to disappear from the US market.
Why? The bill mandates testing that may cost upwards of $3000 per toy design. There are no exceptions made for toy artisans who only make a few hundred toys a year and no exceptions in place for toy makers who already follow stringent European standards for testing and safety. The cost of the testing will price out of the market those people, like the talents artisans at Etsy, already providing safe toys to our children. Obviously, crafters who sell a few handmade dolls each year, at a small profit, cannot afford to have their design independently tested according to the law. And, European companies like Haba and Selecta, who already put so much money into passing European toy tests cannot afford to add a second round of tests without significantly increasing the price on their toys.
Some European toy companies have stated that the price of their toys in the US may double, while others (like Selecta) have announced that unless the Safe Toy Bill is changed, they will not be exporting to the US at all. Any crafters who continue to sell their toys without certification will do so illegally and at their own risk. The removal of handmade and European toys from the US market will be a big blow to natural toy boutiques (like our family business at EuphoriaBaby.com), to millions of individual toy artisans and to parents who have enjoyed providing these high-quality toys for their children.
What can you do?
Let’s get the law changed to address these frustrating and unintended consequences! As of this time, I have not come across any action one can take to protect European toy makers. But, there are at least three things you can do now to protect handmade American toys:
- Sign the Petition at Save Handmade Toys in the USA from the CPSIA
- Vote for Save Handmade Toys From the CPSIA at “Ideas for Change in America.” The top 10 ideas are going to be presented to the Obama Administration on Inauguration Day and will be supported by a national lobbying campaign run by Change.org, , and more than a dozen leading nonprofits after the .
- Share this blog post with your friends to help build support
For more information on the organization sponsoring the petition and proposal on Change.org, see the Handmade Toy Alliance.