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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Speak out against the CPSIA or say goodbye to reselling!

Hi everyone,
I have received dozens of emails in the last few days from friends and consignors and shoppers at our store about this alarming new law that started with great intentions to protect our children from dangerous levels of lead and phalates. If this law goes into affect, EVERY consignment shop, used bookseller (AND YES that includes libraries), Goodwill, Craig's List and EBay seller will be OUT OF BUSINESS (yes, Marin Kids Consignment included). You will not be allowed by law to sell a single item that your child has outgrown. You must, by law, either give it to a friend or throw it away.

And yes, it includes all of our Mother's Club annual rummage sales. It also includes garage sales (OK, enforcing it will be impossible, but you will be committing a FELONY if you sell your child's things in your own garage sale unless you provide an official certification that it is lead free, and don't you think that is wrong?)

In addition, this law requires expensive testing and certification for every handmade item for children. Small crafters, handmade items (even made out of certified organic materials) will have to be tested in order to be sold legally. The phthalates testing is only required on products manufactured after the act goes into effect on February 10, 2009, but the lead testing is required on all products retroactively forever that are sold in the country, including resale.

This new law affects everything, and I mean every single thing that your "under 12" child may touch during the course of a day...clothing, toys, books, bikes, computers, stuffed animals, blankets, cribs, strollers, diapers, car seats, household items,zippers, buttons, decals, everything.

Does your child go to school? Under this law as it stands, your school for children under 12 will have to replace every ballpoint pen and paper clip, every toy, book, cot for napping...every single craft supply...every single thing in every school, daycare or afterschool program.

Do you love libraries? Well, they are full of books and kids books might have lead in them. Horrible? YES! Should we change this? YES! But under this law, libraries would be required to throw away their books (because they are classified "hazardous" they cannot be donated, either).

Could this be what our congressmen and women intended? I am still researching and am hopeful that the interpretation of the law will come out in our favor. At this point it feels completely surreal to me, I had not even heard of it until someone on the Novato Mothers Club sent it to me! Have I had my head in the sand or something? It is truly bizarre, but the more I read the more it seems impossible to believe.

Please keep reading if you want to learn more. And if you care about this situation, please write a letter to our Senators, even a simple letter that says "Please keep our consignment shops open, please change the unintended consequences of the Consumer Product Safety Information Act (CPSIA) that goes into effect Feb. 10, 2009":

Dianne Feinstein (D)
331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Phone: (202) 224-3841
Fax: (202) 228-3954
Email: senator@feinstein.senate.gov
Web Page: http://www.feinstein.senate.gov


Barbara Boxer (D)
112 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Phone: (202) 224-3553
Fax: (202) 228-1338
Email: senator@boxer.senate.gov
Web Page: http://boxer.senate.gov/

I am copying a post from a blogger who I felt put it best (from http://littletreasuressale.blogspot.com/2009/01/cpsia-how-it-could-take-away-our.html):

"Have you heard about what's going on with the Consumer Product Safety Information Act (CPSIA) that goes into effect Feb. 10, 2009? We have 35 days to change a law and we need your help in order to keep the resale industry alive!

CPSIA was signed in Aug. 2008 and it has great intentions to protect children (under 12) from exposure to lead and certain phthalates. But its "unintended consequences" are quite unsettling because they didn't take the resale industry into consideration.

In a nutshell, ALL children's products (including clothes) manufactured after 2/10/09 are required to have certification that lead does not exceed 600 ppm. Most alarming is that CPSIA has been interpreted to apply to ALL children's products in commerce, regardless of manufacture date. Which means that reselling children's things that have not been tested for lead is illegal. While this effects retailers and their current inventory, the biggest impact hits the resale industry.

I am 100% in favor of getting toxic children's products out of circulation. We want to help with the effort. However, this piece of legislation's blanket approach will cause the following adverse effect to resale, the environment and families who need a way to make extra money during these tough times:

1. The resale industry will go down, including Ebayers, seasonal sales, thrift shops, consignment stores.
2. The most thrifty consumers (mothers) will have to buy everything new, which is especially unfortunate in light of the current economy.
3. We will certainly fill up the landfills. You've seen how much stuff comes to our sale, which is a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of things.
4. The law applies to ALL children's products, not just toys. Organizations like Goodwill and Salvation Army that depend on clothing donations will suffer.
5. How will the government regulate yard sales?

ATTENTION PEOPLE OF THRIFT, we have 35 days to change the language of this bill so that consignment businesses, smart consumers and the environment don't suffer."

I hope you will write a simple letter to help change the interpretation of this poorly written law. If you are a Marin Kids Consignor, you will be receiving a separate email in the next few days about what we are doing to prepare in case we are forced to close our doors. I don't want to overreact...I'll stay open until February 10th, but the fines are $100,000 and up to 5 years in jail. If you do a little digging online, many many small businesses (not only resale but anything handmade is affected) are closing shop in anticipation.

Want to learn more? Google "CPSIA" and you'll get an interesting night of reading.
Here's a good one: http://cpsia-central.ning.com/profiles/blog/list?user=atbdzpbruy7b

Wish us all luck!

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