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Activism CPSIA: CONGRESS
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SarahM
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not sure where to post this, but I came across this site today. http://revengeis.com/index.html

They make t-shirts out of recycled plastic bottles! Hello PHTHALATES? I wonder what they'll do...
Even if there are no phthalates, I am sure they'll have to test.
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Shelagh
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eric H wrote:
According to this report from the CBO,

Quote:
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that enacting the legislation would increase federal revenues from civil penalties by $43 million over the 2009-2018 period. CBO estimates the act would not affect direct spending.


So, if you were planning to stay in business, Congress is looking at you like lead- and phthalate-spewing meat with wallets.


That sums it up perfectly.
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Kathleen F.
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Joined: 08 Sep 2005
Posts: 11098
Location: NM Albuquerque

PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SarahM wrote:
Not sure where to post this, but I came across this site today. http://revengeis.com/index.html

They make t-shirts out of recycled plastic bottles! Hello PHTHALATES? I wonder what they'll do...Even if there are no phthalates, I am sure they'll have to test.

Interesting twist to follow up on! This particular company is safe tho, they're not making kids products.
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Esther
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Polyester itself is a pthalate, though not one that is banned. At least not yet. All pthalates are currently under review pending further study.
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Deb Stahl
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just had to share this auto-response I got from my Senator from the letter that was automatically sent to him from the F-I letter generator thingy (which I loved, BTW!):

Dear Mrs. Stahl:

Thank you for contacting me about the importance of ensuring that consumer products meet basic safety standards.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) was created in 1972 by Congress and began operating in 1973. For the last thirty -five years, the CPSC has been charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from more than 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. The CPSC protection efforts have decreased the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products by thirty percent . Such deaths, injuries and property damage cost the nation more than $800 billion annually.

I am in agreement with you that manufacturers, importers and retailers should be held accountable for th e products they import and sell , and I support consumer product safety reform. Consumer products such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals should not pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard or injure children. P arent s and grandparent s deserve to be confident that the products they bring into their home are safe.

For these reasons, I sponsored two amendments to H.R. 4040 .

The first amendment requires the CPSC to develop training standards for the safety inspectors and technical personnel. The second provision, co-sponsored with Senator Barack Obama , standardizes recall information on products deemed unsafe - including where the products were sold, where they were produced, and how consumers can obtain a refund or replacement . T his provision was included in Section 214 of the final bill enacted this year .

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 was introduced by Representative Bobby Rush in 2007. H.R. 4040 provides greater protection for children's products, improve s the screening of noncompliant consumer products, and improves the effectiveness of consumer product recall programs. Specifically, H.R. 4040 would require mandatory third-party testing of children's products and lowers the standard for lead in products from 600 parts per million to 100 parts per million.

Hearings on were held by the Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government in April 2008. T he house passed H.R. 4040 by a vote of 401-0 on July 30, 2008 , and i t was forwarded to the Senate. I voted for H.R. 4040 and the Senate passed it by a vote of 89-3 the next day. On August 14, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 became Public Law No. 110-314.

Please be assured that I will continue to work to ensure the safety of consumer products and support efforts to increase resources and funding for the CPSC. Again, thank you for contacting me about this important issue. Please feel free to do so about this or any other matter of importance to you.

I need a Plan B...... ?
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Kathleen F.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deb Stahl wrote:
Just had to share this auto-response I got from my Senator from the letter that was automatically sent to him

Quote:
For these reasons, I sponsored two amendments to H.R. 4040...
... Specifically, H.R. 4040 would require mandatory third-party testing of children's products and lowers the standard for lead in products from 600 parts per million to 100 parts per million.


I need a Plan B...... ?

Ah, so he's the one we need to go after for this. What's his name?
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Wacky Hermit
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just FYI (so you don't have to read the entire Etsy thread to find out) some of the people participating in the mail-in protest to Rep. Bobby Rush are sending not product, but empty boxes with a picture of their product. Kinda haunting, and a good alternative for people who can't afford to send products. Also, somebody had the idea to send a WANTED poster with a picture of her handmade teddy bear that said "WANTED: $1,200 TO TEST ME SO I CAN COME TO YOUR HOUSE".

There are loads of cute, creative ideas for participating in this protest, and I welcome them all! (What else would we expect from Etsians, if not cute, creative ideas!) In fact I think the protest will have more impact if the letters and packages aren't all the same.
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Melissa McKeagney
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is a response I received from Paul Hodes, a co-sponsor of the bill. It is clear that my letter never even got that far. Probably only to the first staffer, who promptly wrote me a form letter related to the bill.

Quote:
December 11, 2008

Dear Ms. McKeagney,

Thank you for contacting me about consumer product safety. I truly appreciate hearing from you, and I am working hard to stand up for New Hampshire 's interests in Congress.

I share your concerns about the recent safety issues and recalls. I want to make sure that everything possible is being done to protect children in the Granite State and across the country from unsafe toys. Twenty million imported toys manufactured in China and elsewhere were recalled this summer. According to Mattel CEO Bob Eckert, some of these toys contained nearly 200 times the legal limit for lead. Currently, at the Consumer Protection Safety Commission (CPSC), there is only one inspector charged with testing toys to make sure they are safe for our children. Toys are now being sold in our stores that are untested and are unsafe. Even more troubling, the chairwoman of the CPSC, Nancy Nord, said recently that she was opposed to increasing the agency's funding or authority. This is unacceptable, especially when it involves protecting our children.

The CPSC is critical to protecting the safety of all Americans by reducing the unreasonable risk of injury associated with consumer products. The CPSC is responsible for developing uniform safety standards for consumer products, minimizing conflicting state and local regulations, and promoting research into prevention of product-related deaths, illnesses, and injuries. We must adequately fund the CPSC to ensure that only the safest products end up in our stores and in our homes.

I am a proud cosponsor of H.R. 4040, the Consumer Product Safety Modernization Act. This legislation would establish consumer product safety standards and other safety requirements for children's products. H.R. 4040 would also reauthorize and modernize the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

On December 19, 2007, I voted for H.R. 4040, which passed the House by a vote of 407 to 0. On August 14, 2008, H.R. 4040 was signed into law.

Thank you again for sharing your thoughts with me. If you would like more information on this or any other issue, please visit my website at http://hodes.house.gov. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future to express your views or if I can be of help on any matter.

Sincerely,
Paul Hodes
Member of Congress


Here is my second letter in response:

Quote:
Congressmen Hodes:

While I appreciate the need to keep our children safe, this law has far reaching unintended consequences. I would appreciate a direct response, and not a form letter to this matter as you did not address a single concern of mine.

I am the owner/manufacturer of little girl Pearl, a girls clothing company, and make everything myself out of my home. I started my business over a year and a half ago, when I took a huge pay cut at my job with the airlines. My little company helps us pay the bills, and makes us feel a little more comfortable at the end of the month. Many of my items are one of a kind, which makes third party testing unfeasible, not to mention the fact that my items are inherently lead free in the first place. I do not use any kind of paint or surface coating, and use mainly quality cotton fabrics for the bulk of my line.

Unfortunately, at this time, component testing is not allowed. Say for example I use 10 different fabrics (for me it's in the hundreds), and 15 different kinds of buttons, and 2 different zippers, and 1 kind of snap. I couldn't just take one of each and have each tested on its own. No, I would have to take hours of my time, sew each product as I do now, and submit it for testing. Well folks, there goes half my inventory right there, not to mention my time. The testing is destructive, so I wouldn't even get the original dress back. It just isn't feasible for us as micro-producers to do the testing in this way, or any manufacturer for that matter. The way the law is written it isn't possible to spread the cost of the testing out among several different styles because you have to test by unit, or each style.

In addition, while the government has ruled that phthalate content testing will not be retroactive from February 10th, 2009, lead testing will be. That means that my current stock becomes illegal to sell past February 10th, unless I submit my dresses to the necessary tests. Regarding the testing, it will cost anywhere between $100-200 at the current rate, and these rates are likely to go up as more manufacturers realize that they must get these tests performed by the deadline. There are only 14 labs that are certified in the U.S. to do this kind of testing. Maybe you know folks who can afford a $200 jumper, but I know I don't. Especially in the current economic state of our country.

It has taken me so much blood, sweat, and tears to build up my company, and the thought of not being able to do what I love is simply heartbreaking. Of course the impetus for the new regulations stemmed from the fiasco of the imported toys from China last year and all of the ensuing recalls. Of course I want to protect our children from unsafe products, but unfortunately this law has gone way too far in its scope. The handmade movement was one of the results from parents wanting to purchase items produced in the U.S. by people who could be their neighbors and friends. Now our government has seen fit to take one more choice away from U.S. consumers and forced them back to products manufactured abroad, and large manufacturers who will have an easier time spreading the costs of testing over a larger product line.

But even the large manufacturers are not without their dilemmas. In a letter dated November 14th, 2008 to Ms. Cheryl Falvey, General Counsel to the CPSC, Mr. Richard Woldenberg, chairman of an educational toy company, stated that Walmart had informed its suppliers of children's products that it intends to return all merchandise regardless of age, that cannot be proven to comply with the new standards. Two other major retailers are rumored to have taken a similar position. If this is the case, you will absolutely see widespread corporate bankruptcies and even more defaults on loans as manufacturers are unprepared to see unprecedented returns of their inventories.

I realize that it is not politically expedient to say that one is against children's safety regulations. But the fact remains that this is going to hurt the economy at a time when we can ill afford one more major sector meltdown. I urge you to take a look at this law and help us Americans try to change it.

Yours Sincerely,
Melissa McKeagney
http://www.littlegirlpearl.com

sorry for such a lengthy post.
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KraftyMommas
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like that letter, very much.
Mind if I use it (with a tweek or 2 to fit my items) to send out??
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Melissa McKeagney
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Go right ahead. Anyone can feel free to use any part of the letter that suits their purposes. And also feel free to correct anything that isn't factual. It's all so confusing to me!

Melissa
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JustFeltHungry
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I posted some felt food to Bobby Rush yesterday!
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Eric H
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Joined: 02 Feb 2007
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Location: NM Albuquerque

PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2008 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pamela wrote:
I think one thing we should do is all get busy doing some XRF testing so we can put the results in anything we want to offer as a change. If 100 or more apparel tests with lead levels are returned to the CSPIA they may have the evidence they need to make changes. I'm sending some of my items off this week for testing.

Pam


This is a good idea, but belongs here.
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jacquie
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 6:33 pm    Post subject: mail in Reply with quote

I am mailing him some cutsie hair ties.
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Pamela
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is the letter I got in response to my letter to Senator Durbin of Illinois. Great, they look like such idiots when they don't even hire someone to read their mail and respond to the point I wrote about. The only thing I can say is I had no idea that there were 40 MILLION product recalls of children's items. Oy.
Pam



Dear Mrs. Mckinnis:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). I appreciate hearing from you and share your concerns.

In July, Congress passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. The measure, which became law on August 14, 2008, includes a number of provisions I authored to strengthen the Consumer Product Safety Commission's ability to protect American consumers.

The law authorizes a significant funding increase for the CPSC to hire additional inspectors and upgrade its testing facilities. In addition, the measure directs the CPSC to establish a searchable, online consumer product safety database to make it easier to find information about recalls and product safety concerns.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act also requires that all products marketed for young children be certified as safe by third-party inspectors. Under the new law, product testing may be performed by a company-owned lab only if the lab is CPSC certified, appropriately insulated from the rest of the company's operations, and can provide equal or greater consumer protection than what would be provided by available third-party labs.

The measure bans the use of lead and toxic phthalates in products manufactured for children aged 12 and younger and requires retailers to label children's products with tracking information that would aid identification in the event of a recall. Finally, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act increases penalties for companies that violate product safety laws.

In 2007, more than 40 million products regulated by the CPSC were recalled, including many popular brands of toys and other children's products. The recalls hurt consumer confidence and shed light on the CPSC's inability to adequately protect consumer safety.

I am pleased that Congress voted to pass this much needed legislation. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act will provide the CPSC with the resources and authority it needs to better protect American consumers. I will continue to work to provide the CPSC with the resources it needs to keep the American people safe.

Thank you again for your message. Please feel free to keep in touch.

Sincerely,
Richard J. Durbin
United States Senator
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April
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2008 12:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is the response I received from Congressman Robert C. "Bobby" Scott of Virginia:
Quote:
Thank you for your e-mail. I appreciate you apprising me of your views on issues currently pending before Congress.
Please be assured that I will keep your views in mind as I continue my work in Congress. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future on other issues that may be of interest to you.

Issues currently pending before Congress?! How utterly infuriating...
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