Handmade Toy Alliance Testifies on CPSIA Impact on Small Business
By Ina Steiner
The Handmade Toy Alliance (HTA) is urging Congress to amend legislation that it says threatens small businesses including makers of handmade toys and the retailers who sell them. HTA Board Member Jill Chuckas testified on Thursday at a Senate subcommittee hearing regarding the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA).
Chuckas founded the home-based Crafty Baby business in 1998, making children and baby products. She told the sub-committee on Thursday that Congress should grant the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission the authority to use risk analysis to allow enforcement flexibility of third-party testing and hazardous content limits. "High risk items like paint or metal jewelry should be held to higher verification standards than low-risk products like bike valve stems and brass zippers on children's garments."
She also said, "Just as the Senate included language in the new food safety bill to exempt small farmers making under $500,000 per year, we ask that Congress make similar allowances for manufacturers who produce in small batches, exempting them from the third-party testing requirements. It's important to point out that these manufacturers would not be exempted from the standards themselves, only from the third-party testing protocol."
The Handmade Toy Alliance has 592 member businesses, including retail stores, toymakers and children's product manufacturers. The HTA says it has been trying to get meaningful reform passed to fix what it calls the unintended consequences of the CPSIA, and said the lack of reform has left their members' business and countless other companies struggling to navigate the costly labeling and third-party testing protocols, without adding to overall product safety.
During the hearing, Senator Pryor said, "I understand in this very difficult recession some of these small companies are going to go out of business anyway," and asked Chuckas, "Do you have any sense of how many are going out of business because of the economy versus the changes in the consumer protection laws?"
The hearing was webcast and has been archived online. Handmade Toy Alliance Board Member Randy Hertzler of euroSource and Board member Kate Glynn of A Child's Garden and Impish also attended the sub-committee meeting.
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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