So, this year I set out give all handmade items for Christmas. Mom got her wrist warmers early, I'm making that felted bag, Ellie got a handmade doll from Etsy, and Mary's getting a family of handmade dolls (if I finish them!). John asked for an apron to wear our in the garage. Instead of buying one at the hardware store, I contacted a friend that sews and asked her to do it. Ellie's giving a handmade toy away in the cousins' gift exchange. Mary's getting a handmade felt cake too. I'm pretty excited about it, because I know each item was made with love, and hopefully gave the maker a bit of extra money that they in turn can use on their family. But what will we do next year?
In August 2008, the Consumer Products Safety Commission passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act which mandates third-party testing for lead and phthalates in all toys. Sounds great, huh? The Act was passed after several recalls in 2007 where toys made in China came back with dangerous lead levels. I'm glad that the US is stepping up testing. I want my girls to be safe. But, in a rush to pass the Act, there were no provisions made for small businesses. So now those toy makers must pay for third party testing on EACH item they make at the expense of approximately $4,000 PER ITEM. So, Ellie's cloth $9 doll? That will be $4,009 next year. Sigh. Mary's beautiful, unfinished wooden kitchen?--$4,300. This legislation truly breaks my heart. Even if these toy makers buy their materials from a "safe" (pre-tested) source, the final safety check is the responsibility of the end toy maker. (Large manufactures will also have to do testing, but since many items are made exactly the same, i.e. 1,000,000 of the same Barbie, the cost per toy will not be that much more.)
For more info, please visit: http://www.handmadetoyalliance.org/Home . And please consider taking a few minutes to write your Congress Person and Senator. There's a link at the bottom for a form letter and also links so you can find the name/address of the representative for your area.