Tuesday, January 13, 2009

U.S. House Small Business Committee Hearing Re: CPSIA

Goodness, I sound like a broken record! But honestly, I am living, breathing, and sleeping this law these days, and will continue to do so until it's amended. So, to that aim, there will be a hearing in Washington, D.C. tomorrow. The hearing is open to the public, and anyone can attend. I understand that the people who will be testifying are already in place, but anyone can send an email to darienne.gutierrez@mail.house.gov prior to the meeting, and also up to 7 days after. So the following is the letter I am about to send, and I'd like you all to feel free to copy and paste as you see fit.

Dear Ms. Gutierrez:

I would like this letter to be included as part of the public record for the Small Business Committee open forum regarding the CPSIA and its impact on small businesses.

My name is Melissa McKeagney, and I am the owner of little girl Pearl. I manufacture children’s clothing out of my home, and have had my business for nearly 2 years. The income I make is crucial to the comfort of my family and our ability to pay our bills. If the CPSIA stands un-amended, I will most certainly have to close my business, as I will not be able to afford the testing required for the Certificate of General Conformity in August 2009.

I understand that the intent of this law is to keep unsafe products out of the hands of our children. Unfortunately, the way it is written, the law will simply not accomplish that aim. Unit testing is not only inefficient and expensive, but will not produce the desired result. For example, a manufacturer produces a ball and track style wooden toy without any coatings. They include a metal ball that has 620 ppm of lead. When tested as an overall unit however, this is not enough to make that toy non-compliant. However, if this toy had been component tested, that component would have to be changed, thus making that toy safer.

Additionally, there are inexpensive, non-destructive methods such as XRF technology that accomplish the same goal, yet will not be allowed after August 9th, 2009. These technologies are very reliable to detect lead in substrates, and are easily managed costs for small businesses like mine. The law also ignores supplier certifications and internationally recognized materials standards that meet and exceed the scope of the CPSIA. These supplier certifications and standards should be allowed as part of a “reasonable testing program.”

If this law remains “as is”, a vast number of small U.S. based businesses will have to close, putting even more of a strain on our weakened economy. I understand that the intent of the law is to make products safer for children. As a mother, I am very concerned about my child’s exposure to noxious substances. But as a business owner, there are more reasonable, common senses approaches to this onerous law. Please amend this law so that small crafters, manufacturers, and artisans can continue to offer wonderful, non-toxic, and safe alternatives to our children.

Melissa McKeagney

The hearing starts from 10am in the Hearing Room at 2360 Rayburn House Office at telephone (202) 225-4038 and fax: (202) 226-5276. So, if you're in the DC area, feel free to attend and make yourselves heard!

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