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Tuesday, January 27 2009

Not sure if you've heard about the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act that is going into effect on February 10th, 2009.  It basically says that children's toys and clothes must now have some sort of proof that they do not contain lead or pthalates.  (Pthalaes are chemical plasticizers used in many products to improve performance or appearance.  For example, they turn rigid plastic into supple vinyl). 

As a result of this Act, there can no longer be any selling or children's toys and clothes manufactured before February 10, 2009 without such proof on ebay, Craigslist, yard sales and church/organization consignment sales to name a few.  This would certainly have a major effect on families struggling in this economy, not to mention professional organizers like myself who advise people how to dispose of their unnecessary household items.

It's a BIG problem.

If you do a google search for the site Fashion Incubator, you will find common-language information there about this issue.

To give you some background, back in early Fall, Congress passed a knee-jerk, feel-good law that is completely unable to be maintained.  If it is implemented without revision, it has the power to bankrupt the entire economy!  That would be the consequence of a very, very poorly-written piece of legislation.  It would make it illegal to sell non-certified items after February 10.  That means every piece of current inventory in every store, boutique, thrift-shop and home business becomes "illegal" on February 10th without destructive and expensive testing.  Some retailers purchase their stock about two seasons ahead of time.  They will have to discard and reorder entirely which can ultimately bankrupt them.

The law as it currently stands demands excessive and expensive testing at "each" level of production, even if that element of a product has already been tested during creation and subsequent production steps.  It affects "everyone" at some level, some of us more drastically than others.  The small "good guys" will be put out of business by this law, and quickly, if it remains without revision.

There are suggested revisions to the law which bring it back in line with current stringent Consumer Protection Agency guidelines, by allowing the transfer of certification through the production process.  In other words, the small maker of, say, wooden salad bowls or hand-rubbed bookcases, buys his wood from one of the many certified organic vendors, he can use their certification as part of his.  Their certificatons would pass down through his product...all the way to the consumer without putting anyone out of business.

The end result of the revisions to the law as it currently stands would enable you, the consumer, to confidently list items for "sale" as you are decluttering, without fear of jail or reprisal.  These revisions, which hopefully will be implemented, would then enable consignment stores and places like Goodwill to continue to accept "donations".  As it currently stands, they would not be able to sell used clothing or items that could be used for/by children under 12 unless every single piece carries a certificate of testing for the regulated substances. 

There is no way to legally sell an item without the certification acquired from testing, which in fact, destroys the items being tested and is estimated to cost $300 to $500 "per component" tested, "per item.".

This 85 page Act was passed and signed into law by the President without sufficient discusssion.  The vast majority of Congress members interviewed had "not" read any substantial portion of the bill beyond the title which sounded good to them!

We must take action immediately to contact our congressmen to get the revisions to this Act implemented prior to the February 10th deadline!  It is crucial to our economy and to the effects on the ecology.  (Keep in mind that if we can't donate or sell our excess when decluttering, we will have to throw the items away in the landfill and that is what we are all trying to avoid these days, are we not!)

This is a very serious issue that needs serious attention.  Get involved!  Don't let February 10th come and go without doing something about it.  This Act, as is currently stands, will have devastating effects on us all.


Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:05 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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