Sunday, January 10, 2010


I've mentioned before about the CPSIA rules that would, and have, put many small businesses out of business due to not being able to afford to comply. It also extends to all library, school, and used booksore books printed before 1985 under the guise of safety, though there is currently a stay that expires in another month. If there are no changes, these books will have to be thrown away or kids banned from libraries and schools (yeah, try figuring out how well that would work). Not pulled and given away, but tossed, as "distributing" them is also illegal. Obviously schools can't afford this. (another article)

The CPSIA rules apply to ALL items intended for use by children under 12, including clothing, toys, toothbrushes, etc.. I've followed this act because I make and sell children's clothing, so would be operating illegally by not paying thousands to have each dress third-party tested (testing also ruins the item, so I'd have to make two using the exact same bolt of fabric, thread from the same lots, etc.). At least there is now an exemption for fabrics and non-metallic notions, as mentioned in the first link above. Fabrics stores can sell me this stuff legally without third-party testing if the exemption listed holds.

Companies that operate on a large scale, producing thousands of items per batch, can spread the cost over a larger number. This is where small-scale businesses are hurt so bad - smaller production batches and one-of-a-kind items are far fewer items to spread the testing cost.

Let's just ignore for now that Mattel was given an exemption to third-party testing. Apparently those in charge don't care that millions upon millions of toys a year distributed by Mattel that were made in China have been recalled (nine million toys in one day alone).

The act still effects ALL sellers of children's items. Even though most recalls are Chinese imports, and not only in the US. Even though many of the recalls were for lead in paint. Even though lead in paint has been banned in the US since 1977.

So, rather than enforce the lead-paint ban and reject products from companies known to use lead paint, the US government decided to make NEW laws that punish small sellers. Um, how about not making new laws until learning to enforce the laws already in place. What are they trying to do, force people to have their items manufactured in China, where production costs are cheap enough that formerly quality items can be made en mass and sold for pennies on the dollar of their quality price so that the third-party testing can be afforded? You know, forcing people to have no choice but to have their items made by the companies that are the biggest cause of the problem so that more leaded items are shipped here? Why not, these companies are rarely fined.

BUT WAIT! What's this? China is replacing lead in children's charms and other jewelry and consumer items? YES!

BUT WAIT AGAIN! They are replacing it with cadmium.

On the CDC's priority list of 275 most hazardous substances in the environment, cadmium ranks No. 7.


A patchwork of federal consumer protection regulations does nothing to keep these nuggets of cadmium from U.S. store shelves. If the products were painted toys, they would face a recall. If they were industrial garbage, they could qualify as hazardous waste. But since there are no cadmium restrictions on jewelry, such items are sold legally.

Yeah, there are laws regarding cadmium in other items, including painted toys, but not to other items children use, even though it qualifies as "hazardous waste".

That law set a new, stringent standard for lead in children's products: Only the very smallest amount is permissible — no more than 0.0003 percent of the total content. The statute has led manufacturers to drastically reduce lead in toys and jewelry.

The law also contained the first explicit regulation of cadmium, though the standards are significantly less strict than lead and apply only to painted toys, not jewelry.

Some of the items tested for cadmium, including a really cute Rudolph charm, showed to be made of 95% cadmium. So lead is being replaced with something far more dangerous. We small-business people are going to end up screwed even more.

Therefore FUCK CHINA. If Charlotte is ever given a toy made in China, we're not keeping it. I wish it were possible for us to avoid all items made in China. Too bad it would cost more than we could afford for the better items made in America and other countries that don't deny people the most basic of rights while flouncing the laws of other countries to hurt their small businesses to make a bigger profit for greedy CEOs who are fine killing people as long as there's money to be made.


  1. Seems like someone should be passing a law regulating cadmium in jewelry, rather than the stupid testing law.

    Personally I don't blame China for making products that are legal. I do blame them for making the lead painted products, but (a) they did enforce their laws against it pretty promptly when it was discovered, and (b) it turns out that while the Chinese products got the most news, there were actually a lot more CPSC violations in U.S. products that just didn't make the headlines.

  2. Well, once a law against cadmium in place, it'll just be a matter of time before businesses have to have third-party testing for cadmium before selling an item.

    The majority of recalled products are from China alone. There are over 300 other countries, yet over half of all recalled products come from one single country. They didn't enforce the lead law promptly. Their items have even recalled so many times over the years for lead and there has been a law against it for over 20 years already. China is aware of the law. It's impossible for them to not be with how many times their products have been recalled for the same reason. I'm not going to let off the hook either American companies that have known the manufacturing companies they hire sell lead products. Based on my research, however, it seems that Chinese companies have had a tendency to be secretive about this, not always disclosing it to the companies hiring them.

    There is a much higher chance of getting a product containing lead by buying a product from overseas than by buying from a stateside small business that manufacturers its own products on premises.


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