CPSIA

Alright, the more I read, the more I’m super concerned about the CPSIA. (Laurie, i think I misspoke – I was overthinking it – it’s actually Legislation.)

Rev Jan has a great summation. Or go to the Gov’t site.

I’m afraid I’ll have to close Wallypop on Feb 10 and suck up huge losses that I really cannot afford and potentially be stuck with a whole lot of expensive inventory that I cannot legally sell.

The problem is in the testing that is required. It’s expensive and on a per-product level. So a carrier made from Fabric A has to be tested, and a carrier made from Fabric B has to be tested, etc. Since most of my carriers are one-offs, um, that’s a lot of money. Passing it along to the consumer is really not realistic, unless people want to start paying $100-1000 per carrier.

Now I’m reading on some industry sites that diapers aren’t subject to needing lead testing, but are instead subject to more stringent flammability requirements. From the way I read it, mostly all of my diapering products are actually exempt from the requirements, except the fitteds. The flannel (or sherpa, or hemp) outer poses a problem. I could switch to selling only diapers with a cotton woven outer, so that’s not a huge problem. I mean, I’ll miss the flannel dipes, but don’t make enough money to justify the testing fees. Then I’m also reading on some industry sites that those who believe that dipes are exempt from lead testing are wrong, so there’s that, too,

Baby slings are specifically exempt from section 104, but are they exempt from everything else? And what of apparel? The shoes and leg warmers I make? grr.

Some apparel makers blogs are suggesting that to frame it as “poor small manufacturers” and “this favors the large manufacturers” is incorrect, but I can think of several reasons that this won’t put the big guys under like it could me and many others. First, one-offs aren’t a large part of their product offerings! Second, they have attorneys and staff to help ensure compliance. Third, they can afford it!! Passing along the cost of testing to the consumer will barely be noticeable when dealing with a product run of a million.

I’m just frustrated and have barely any time to devote to figuring this out, not to mention I have a serious lack of brainpower right now.

Let me add, too, that this is why I think less government = better. And government health care scares the piss out of me.

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8 responses to “CPSIA

  1. I don’t know the details about this law so can’t comment.
    I hope the administrative rulemaking process will exempt products made by WAHMs.

    As for the glories of “small government,” before the government got involved in consumer product safety issues there were many, many kids profoundly damaged by lead.

    Without the government regulation of the 1970s, we’d have lead-based paint making kids retarded a lot more often, and not only in 30-plus year old homes.

    Traffic fatalities peaked during the early 1970s and dropped sharply because of government regulations on seat belts, crash testing, and later air bags.

    I could go on, but you get my point. “Big government” safety regulations have saved many lives.

    How many seniors opt out of Medicare? Not many. Medicare’s administrative costs are about 3 to 4 percent. Private insurance companies have overhead of 15 to 20 percent, and they are rationing care and denying care all the time, much more often than Medicare. Did you read about the woman who rushed to get a labor induction because she lost her job and was going to lose her insurance coverage? She ended up with a c-section because she panicked about losing coverage. And of course, the insurance company refused to pay anyway.

    We pay more for health care per capita than any other industrialized democracy, but we have 47 million uninsured and a lot of people with insurance get jerked around by their insurers. Plus, a lot of insurance plans don’t cover basic preventive care. Our system works very badly.

    • Most seniors don’t have any other options. Because medicare exists, independent insurance companies don’t really offer any affordable health plans for seniors. Most independent ins. co’s don’t offer affordable plans, period, because of the way the marketplace is set up. With everyone mostly getting insurance from their employers, there are not enough people in the market for independent insurance to make it affordable. did that make sense? I’m so tired tonight. I think if there were non-government options that didn’t cost an arm and a leg, many people would move away from Medicare.
      Of course, there’s also the fact that we pay for Medicare our entire working lives. Most people aren’t going to just walk away from their own money.

      I’m not saying safety regulations are all bad. Government stuffing their nose in my industry in a completely unwarranted way (fabric already falls well below even lowest of the lead requirements) is bad. Government stuffing its nose in ANY industry like this is bad. They went way way beyond “hey, cheap Chinese factories, let’s keep the lead out of toys.”

      Several of us have been talking that this is going to create quite the landfill issue, as well. If I can’t sell off my inventory before I close (if I have to close), I have to throw it away. Talk about wasteful. Me and everyone else throwing all that stuff away. And then all my fabric and supplies, as well, because, um, what am I going to do with two cases of Touchtape if I can’t make diapers with it? A (new) roll of Sherpa? PUL? There are very few uses for PUL that don’t involve children.

  2. I was just thinking today that leg warmers would be awesome! I will totally buy a pair for me and each of my kids (if you have any in stock). :o)

    And yes, I totally see the need for small government!

  3. Well, they’re fine until Feb 10! I have some inventory up at Boulevard Designs (boulevarddesigns.etsy.com) and will have my complete inventory up at Wallypop when I reopen later this month or early January.

    I’ve thought about continuing to sell “black market” stuff, but geez, the risks. $10,000 plus jail time for EACH offense. A diaper order with 5 unique diapers = 5 offenses. Ha.

    Also, Laurie, Randy and I were talking last night…do you think that consumers can change the market? (I do.) Once consumers learned about the dangers of lead in paint, their natural tendency would have been to STOP buying paint with lead and buy lead-free paint, eventually leading to a market with no lead-based paint.

    Without any government reglations, more and more people are buying low-VOC paint, leading to more manufacturers making it, lowering the cost, more widely available, more people buying, more people making, cost even lower, more widely available….etc. Slower, yes.

    I just cannot believe the government, while bailing out the auto industry, is sending thousands of small businesses out of business. “The economy’s bad, I know, let’s make it worse!!”

  4. ps let me point out that im not saying all regulation = bad. i am saying that there are very few regulations (in recent history at least) that effectively solve the problem without creating many others or completely over-reaching. or both.

    congress seems unable to be reasonable, they are too busy getting reelected or participating in trade-offs or getting pork for the constituents.

    they are working on the cosmetics industry next, i agree it would be good to have organic standards for cosmetics like we do for food. but what ive read suggests that most small manufacturers will be unable to afford compliance, even those not claiming organic.

  5. Well, they need to do something about cosmetics, because those are totally unregulated and many have lead or carcinogens in them. And of course people absorb those chemicals through their skin.

    I am not a policy wonk, so don’t know the right way to structure this regulation, but I know that pretty much no major industry ever gets rid of toxics in their products until the government makes them. And consumers don’t have the information they need to make informed decisions. Many people assume that products wouldn’t be legal if they weren’t safe. They have no idea that U.S. products contain lots of things that are banned in Europe because of carcinogens, for instance.

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