Wednesday, January 07, 2009

More Corporate Madness: How "helping" our kids could hurt in the long-run

I've been hearing rumblings on DaddyTypes and from my friend Phil who makes toys (among other things) about the law that the Consumer Products Safety Commission has drafted to go into effect on February 10. Considering my usual interest in small producers and quality products versus the marketing muscle of mega-corporations, I will take a mea culpa on not paying closer attention until this post. Apparently, the law affects toys and clothes, and it may be retroactive to extant items — whether or not they contain lead.
The law, aimed at keeping lead-filled merchandise away from children, mandates that all products sold for those age 12 and younger — including clothing — be tested for lead and phthalates, which are chemicals used to make plastics more pliable. Those that haven’t been tested will be considered hazardous, regardless of whether they actually contain lead.

Effectively, what the government has done is to ensure that small producers — anyone from a single maker like Phil to a small company with small revenues — must go through the same costly testing requirements as the corporations whose shoddy practices caused the problem in the first place. Word on the virtual street is that many producers simply won't be able to afford to make and sell their toys or clothes anymore. And that you may not be able to find and buy all those gorgeous handmade kids sweaters, blankets, wood toys, felted animals... you name it.

Do a couple searches or head on over to the Handmade Toy Alliance for more information.

UPDATE: Here's a good post from Consumerist on it with a couple good links beyond...

H/T to Neatorama for catching my attention.