Monday, May 10, 2010

CPSIA - CPSIA Casualty of the Week for May 10

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.

Congress and the CPSC need to address the problems with CPSIA implementation to help small businesses by restoring "common sense" to our nation's product safety laws.

CPSIA Casualty of the Week for May 10, 2010:

Beloved Minnesota store The Essence of Nonsense Closed by
the Essence of Nonsense (CPSIA)

Tom Fletcher and his business partner Barbara Anderson-Sannes opened The Essence of Nonsense toy store 14 years ago dedicated to selling unique, high-quality toys out of their St, Paul, Minnesota shop. Offering an array of the best handmade toys from small domestic toymakers and traditional European manufacturers, The Essence of Nonsense became an important retail destination in the local community.

After the CPSIA imposed new restrictions on the toy industry, Tom and Barbara found that their suppliers greatly reduced the range of products available. Even more disturbing, they also noticed that the quality of products was rapidly deteriorating. Rather than sell inferior quality products, they decided to close the store. This was no “victory” for safety - their store had never experienced a recall of any of its specialized products.

"CPSIA cut our choices in half," says Tom Fletcher. "Some small companies stopped selling or disappeared and the bigger companies, realizing they were the only options, started to reduce quality to save money for themselves. So, we decided to close in large part because the quality of our product offering was changing and the choices were becoming so limited."

"It's not that we're against the [CPSIA-imposed] testing," Fletcher continued. "It's just that we need a fair application across the board. Small businesses can't afford to hire the necessary testers which puts them at a significant disadvantage and can even put them out of business."

Tragically, the closing of The Essence of Nonsense is a cautionary tale about how the overly-restrictive burdens of the new product safety regime can destroy small businesses and imperil their unique products. On the back of a precautionary law, a wave of destruction is carrying away the life’s work of many small businesspeople.

"When you pick up a handmade toy," Fletcher says, "you can feel the dedication and effort that went into making it. Someone really loved making that toy. If something isn't done to protect small businesses, handmade toys will be gone soon. People will look back and say, 'we had this when I was a kid and we don't have it anymore.'"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

To Whom it may concern:

Please advise the CPS Commission that the restrictive and overly burdensome CPSIA law of August 2008 and proposed ammendments are causing small businesses in the Toy industry incredible harm! Many have already gone out of business and more will follow unless some common sense and logic is applied to the situation. (The Minnesota company is an example)

Our small company- $300,000 in annual sales has already spent over $12,000 making tests demanded by our larger retail customers over the past several months.

This is a tremendous burden on a company our size and there are hundreds of other similar companies in the same predicament.

At this writing, we are obtaining the costs for the testing of two hand puppets required by a potential customer. We esitmate that the tests will cost between $2,500 and $3,000. That type expense projected for a total year can eventually put us out of business.

Timeless Toys has been in business for over 12 years.We have never once had a problem with any of the safety requirements of the CPSC in the U.S.or other regulatory bodies in other countries around the world.

Our high quality products have been sold all over the world without one single complaint. regarding toxicity, lead in paint, small parts etc. etc.

It is ironic that the major Toy companies and the large retailer whose negligence lead to the catastrophic CPSIA law are well able to afford the costs of the new requirements while small companies are going out of business because of the new law.

With business down in general due to the overall economic conmditions in the country; isn't this the time to use some common sense and revise the law so that consumers are still protected but the unneccesary requirements of the CPSIA law are removed?

Had the companies involved in the massive recall simply complied with the TIA Voluntary standards in effect at the time, this debacle would have never happened.

Sincerely yours

Harold A. Nizamian
Timeless Toys 2534 Barrington Court
Hayward, CA 94545