I wrote to my representatives back in December protesting the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act and its negative impact on the handmade community. I did a post about a month later recounting Sen. Tom Coburn's response. Today, I received an email from Sen. Jim Inhofe. (I have still heard nothing from Rep. John Sullivan. Way to represent your constituents, John!)
It's a long email, so I won't recount the whole thing, but there is a section in particular that will interest all of you. Inhofe wrote:
"You will be pleased to know that I am a cosponsor of S. 374 which would amend the troublesome provisions in the CPSIA. Specifically, S. 374 would postpone the implementation of testing and certification requirements to allow the CPSC to clarify the new regulations and allow for additional public comment. Additionally, S. 374 would exempt thrift stores, consignment shops, garage sales and other resellers from the CPSIA's prohibitions. This bill would also prevent the retroactive enforcement of the CPSIA to ensure that only products manufactured after February 10th would have to comply with CPSIA's testing and certification requirements. Therefore, manufacturers and retailers will not need to worry about un-sellable inventory that was considered safe prior to the passage of the CPSIA.
Additionally, in order to prevent costly duplicative testing, S. 374 would permit small manufacturers to use the certificates of compliance from their component suppliers to certify that the components adhere to the lead standards. Finally, considering that small businesses generally do not have the resources to employ staff to solely focus on regulatory compliance, S. 374 would require the CPSC to provide a compliance guide to small businesses. In addition to providing the compliance guide, S. 374 includes a good-faith exemption for businesses should they accidently violate CPSIA requirements.
S. 374 is currently pending the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. In order to facilitate compliance with the CPSIA, the CPSC regularly updates its website (http://www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/cpsia.html) to provide current information on the implementation of the CPSIA and to answer questions from businesses and consumers. The CPSC has also included on their website a "Guide to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) for Small Businesses, Resellers, Crafters and Charities." The guide may be found at http://www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/smbus/sbguide.pdf. You may also contact the CPSC at 1-800-638-2772. As businesses and consumers prepare for the full implementation of the CPSIA, please consider my office a resource. Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions or comments. Again, thank you for contacting me. Your input helps me serve you better in the U.S. Senate."
The second paragraph in particular should be of interest to us all. Allowing crafters to present testing certificates from the manufacturers of the actual parts is the action that makes the most sense. This way, we all know that our components are lead-free, but the burden is placed where it ought to be: on the producer, not the consumer. Additionally, the provisions to clarify CPSIA's rules would also be helpful since so much of the act is confusing and seemingly contradictory.
I urge everyone who makes or buys handmade items to write, call or email their senators to support these changes to the legislation. Check out WackyHermit's post for senators to call and a script to use. Remember: CPSIA effects us all, so get your voice heard!