CPSIA Law Threatens all Children’s Businesses & Families with Children

An open letter from Jennifer Guenther, CEO Enkore Kids:

I am writing on behalf of Enkore Kids, a small Maryland children’s shop that specializes in new and “new-to-you” children’s clothing, toys, & equipment for kids newborn to age 14. My partner, Susan McCarthy, and I are reaching out to fellow business owners and consumers in Maryland and the surrounding area in hopes of joining forces to make our voices heard in opposition to recent federal consumer protection legislation (http://www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/faq/faq.html)... a law that stands to have a huge impact not only on our children’s resale business, but also hand-made toy and clothing manufacturers, other small manufacturers for all children’s items, bookstores (as children’s books are also affected), all children’s stores and retail stores that also have children’s items, daycares, libaries, and schools.

Because the law explicitly (as interpretted by the CPSC) bans as “hazardous” all children’s products manufactured before the the new universal testing requirements took effect in November of 2008, all new and used items made before that date will become illegal to sell or even distribute effective February 10, 2009 (dubbed “National Bankruptcy Day”). In the past the CPSC issued recalls as necessary, which only removed specific products from the market. Now unless individual retailers are able to do expensive & destructive tests on their inventory to prove otherwise, all items manufactured before November of 2008 (when mandatory testing took effect) will be presumed “hazardous”. This will have a ripple effect on the entire economy, as manufacturers and retailers raise prices on all their items (not just children’s items) to make up for the non-saleable old inventory and the cost of testing the new inventory.

This law (called CPSIA) flew under our radar until a chance new report we saw on January 2, 2009… and all of the research we have undertaken since isn’t promising. Please feel free to have a look at the following links:

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-thrift2-2009jan02,0,2083247.story

http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2009/01/03/hand-me-down-clothes-in-the-post-hand-me-down-era-consumer-protectionism-gone-too-far/

http://www.fashion-incubator.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=3393

A quick google search yields many links to forums and blogs — largely about how the CPSIA affects crafters and small children’s apparel/accessory makers (it isn’t good for them either!!). Since the LA Times article came out, more attention has been paid to the impact the law will have on children’s resalers.

I want to make it abundantly clear that Enkore Kids fully supports stricter legislation to ensure our children’s items are safe. However, the law, as currently crafted, will do more harm than good.

It will force out of business all smaller manufacturers and work-at-home businesses that will not be able to test each batch of items as required by the law. Estimates for cost of testing are $150 to $4000 per component tested, with an average of around $500. So, as an example, a cloth diaper made by a work at home mom may have three components: the inner fleece, the outer shell, and the velcro – cost would be (on average) $1500 per batch with the testing required for each new bolt of material. Even though those same materials may have been tested by the individual manufacturers, the law will require that they be tested again as part of a newly manufactured product. Even though none of these items would even be suspected of having lead in them!

We are planning a petition and letter writing campaign to MD legislators, and are curious if you would like to join forces with us and help us get the word out. We’d be happy to share our sample language (as we develop it) and believe that the more who speak out about this poorly-crafted law, the better!!

I would also urge you to contact our lawmakers directly. The American Apparel Associate has made this very easy if you follow this link:

http://capwiz.com/americanapparel/issues/alert/?alertid=12274476

It will automatically send an email (or allow you print a letter) to our Senators & Congressman based on your address and allow you to modify the text.

I can be reached by email at this address… or you are welcome to call me if you’d like; my cell phone # is 240-674-1859.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Guenther
Enkore Kids, LLC.
CEO/Mommy

For additional details and links, see Jennifer’s blog at www.enkorekids.blogspot.com.

In addition, a class action lawsuit is currently underway. Learn more about it at http://reformcpsia.org/.

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