Thursday, November 19, 2009

CPSIA - CPSIA Casualty of the Week for November 16

The Alliance for Children's Product Safety's "CPSIA Casualty of the Week" highlights how the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) is disrupting the U.S. marketplace in order to draw attention to the problems faced by small businesses, public institutions, consumers and others trying to comply with senseless and often contradictory provisions of the law. These provisions do nothing to improve product safety, but are driving small businesses out of the market.

CPSIA Casualty of the Week for November 16:

“Pockets of Learning” Emptied by CPSIA
Special Needs Products Being Driven from Market By Testing Costs

Pockets of Learning is a Rhode Island-based company that for 20 years has designed, manufactured and sold unique heirloom-quality cloth toys and gifts, many of which offer skill-building experiences to children such as tying, matching, buttoning and counting. The company helps fill niche markets, including special needs, religious and independent retailers. Pockets of Learning has an impeccable safety record, and has never offered a product to the marketplace that had not been tested according to CPSC requirements.

On November 10, 2009, Pockets of Learning informed its customers that thanks to CPSIA, it will no longer sell its "How Do I Feel Today?" wall hanging, a bear-themed product sold for young children with special and emotional needs. The company told its customers that it "can no longer afford to manufacture and offer these products, due to the over 500% increase in safety testing cost…The annual volume of the product does not allow for the investment required to properly safety test under the new CPSIA guidelines."

The loss of this item was made known to us by a leading distributor of therapy tools and other products for educational professionals and psychologists who had his order cancelled.

Pockets of Learning President Jack Grant told us in an e-mail that this product loss is only the "tip of the iceberg." Due to the financial impact of CPSIA testing, Pockets of Learning is planning to reduce its product line from about 65 products to approximately 22 because of "the reality that CPSIA testing would typically add 30% or more to the cost of each item" made in small production runs.

Large multinational manufacturers who make high volume items can absorb higher testing costs imposed by CPSIA. But the thousands of small businesses across the country that fulfill specific, niche markets are the untold casualties of this law. Worse yet, kids in need are losing access to essential teaching materials. "How Do I Feel Today?", indeed!

For more information, please contact Caitlin Andrews at (202) 828-7637 or e-mail

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