Last week’s hearing before the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade was the beginning of a long overdue, open and public conversation about the need to bring some safety common sense to the CPSIA. At the hearing we heard from small and medium sized businesses about the challenges they face in making and selling safe products while trying to run the obstacle course set up by the law. For those of us who have been working first hand with this law, these stories are not new – unfortunately, we have been hearing them for almost three years now. The list of safe products no longer available to consumers continues to grow, as does the list of those who have lost their livelihood because of this law.
However what has not been so apparent is the collateral damage being done by the CPSIA. I recently wrote about a father who was stymied by the CPSIA in his efforts to raise money for juvenile diabetes research by collecting and selling used children’s jeans. In spite of some confused statements at the hearing last week, charities which donate or sell used children’s products and clothing are adversely impacted by this law.
Now we hear that Mothering Magazine is ceasing its print publication after a proud 35 year history. According to the magazine: “Many of our advertisers have been hard hit by the economy. Toy manufacturers have been burdened by the cost of complying with the new regulations of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). Many of our sling and baby-carrier advertisers experienced declining sales or went out of business altogether in 2010 as a result of loss of sales due to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalls of infant carriers.”
Libraries, schools and day care providers also are among the countless groups and organizations that also have to navigate the challenges of the CPSIA. The agency has asked for more flexibility and I hope that Congress listens. In the meantime, the collateral damage from this law spreads.