Friday, January 9, 2009

Think they'll listen?

No one around here seems to even know about this bill. There have been no news stories about it. How can people share their opinion and write their congressmen if they don't even know what's happening in a little over 4 weeks.

I sent this to all my local news channels yesterday. Think anyone will listen?

I am a small business owner and am about to lose everything I have worked for over the last 5 years because of a bill passed in 2008, which will take effect Feb 10th, 2009. In summary, The CPSIA states that all products manufactured primarily for children until the age of 12 must be tested for lead.

Like many of our country’s entrepreneurs, I among the growing group of stay-at-home moms who choose to turn their love for creating into a sustainable business that can be run while raising a family. I have been making Binkie Clips for 5 years, and am now featured in over 50 stores across the nation. I set up my LLC in 2003 and have been growing steadily ever since. I now employ 4 part time workers.
Like many people, I too have a stake in the children’s industry and its safety. I am a mother of four under the age of 8. I was very pleased that Congress acted quickly to protect America's children by enacting the CPSIA, however this bill was passed hastily and without regard for its long-reaching effects.

Last year after the dangerous lead scares in children’s toys, I personally went to my local Bureau of Environmental Health Services office and brought in my Binkie Clips to talk about their potential hazard with Dave Johnson. I was told that even if there were lead in my products, the amounts would be too small to do any harm. I took home the crayons provided and tested my products and found no negative results.

The testing this new bill would require would put me out of business. I guess that it would cost me over $50,000 to test all or a portion of my products. I have made roughly 10,000 Binkie Clips in my years in business and have a very good rapport with my customers. I just wonder…

1.Why hasn’t the news said much about this topic. There is a lot of talk going on online.
2. If everyone actually complies what will happen of Feb 10th? Will Target, Walmart, the Gap, and The whole Kid to Kid resale chain clear their shelves, take their inventory to the dump and start over? Will the few testing facilities available be able to handle the new load or will we have empty stores for a while?
3. Will Stores such as Kid to Kid chain and D.I. eliminate their children’s products altogether? Will we forget about our country's push to “go green” and take our children’s cribs, clothes and toys to our local landfill instead of donating it to be re-loved by others?
4. Will schools and libraries survive? How will they possibly comply?
5. Will our country's very make-up be changed? How many small businesses will have to close their doors? How many people will this put out of work?
6. How will the fashion industry react? Will you never see another one-of-a-kind article of clothing made for children? Will we have much less selection so that companies can comply and test each design?
7. Shouldn’t the law be changed? Just like in many other industries, shouldn’t small businesses be exempt from these harsh restrictions? Shouldn’t the large toy companies who outsourced their work to China to deepen their pockets be the ones who are forced to comply?
8. Or could we start with requiring just a label (“this product has not been tested for lead and may cause harm if it has lead, and more than 600 parts per million, and if your child chews it to pieces”)? The tobacco industry survived with just a label, why not toys and children's products? Let people make their own decisions on what deem safe and want to buy?
9. Isn’t lead exposure really only a problem with paint and plastics? Should cotton clothing, diapers, ribbon and hair bows really even be involved?

I would love to hear the news get involved in this issue. I have so many questions with the future of my little company and with my young family that no one seems to be able or willing to answer.
Please Help!


Carlie Wendel, Owner
Baby Bintz

If you are not familiar with this legislation, I suggest you check the following internet sites:

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