Don’t Let Handmade Toys Become Extinct

There has been buzz all around the handmade corners of the internet about the recently approved Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), passed in August of this year in large part because the United States Congress rightly recognized that the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) lacked the authority and staffing to prevent dangerous toys from being imported into the US.

Among other things, the CPSIA bans lead and phthalates in toys, mandates third-party testing and certification for all toys, and requires toy makers to permanently label each toy with a date and batch number.

All of these changes are great for children and will be fairly easy for large, multinational toy manufacturers to comply with. But, here’s the rub, quoting now from the Handmade Toy Alliance:

Large manufacturers who make thousands of units of each toy have very little incremental cost to pay for testing and update their molds to include batch labels.

For small American, Canadian, and European toy-makers, however, the costs of mandatory testing will likely drive them out of business.

  • A toymaker, for example, who makes wooden cars in his garage in Maine to supplement his income cannot afford the $4,000 fee per toy that testing labs are charging to assure compliance with the CPSIA.
  • A work at home mom in Minnesota who makes dolls to sell at craft fairs must choose either to violate the law or cease operations.
  • A small toy retailer in Vermont who imports wooden toys from Europe, which has long had stringent toy safety standards, must now pay for testing on every toy they import.
  • And even the handful of larger toy makers who still employ workers in the United States face increased costs to comply with the CPSIA, even though American-made toys had nothing to do with the toy safety problems of 2007.

The CPSIA simply forgot to exclude the class of toys that have earned and kept the public’s trust: Toys made in the US, Canada, and Europe. The result, unless the law is modified, is that handmade toys will no longer be legal in the US.

Not so awesome, right?

I don’t know about you, but I happen to verily love shopping for children’s items on Etsy and other personal sites that showcase handmade toy makers and their products. That could quickly become a thing of the past if this bill is not correctly and appropriately modified.

Visit the Handmade Toy Alliance’s website for more information, including access to Etsy forums on this topic, and to learn more ways you can help keep handmade toys on the market.

In addition to visiting their website and spreading the word, please consider writing to your United States Congress Person and Senator to request changes in the CPSIA to save handmade toys.

You can use the Handmade Toy Alliance’s sample letter or write your own. You can find your Congress Person here and your Senator here.

A big thanks! to Amy for the heads up on this legislation and for pointing us in the direction of the Handmade Toy Alliance.

An original 5 Minutes for Going Green post. Read more about all things Kerri Anne, including her renewed commitment to green living and her affinity for talking in movie quotes at

5 Responses to Don’t Let Handmade Toys Become Extinct
  1. Diana (Ladybug Limited)
    December 15, 2008 | 7:25 pm

    Please know that this affects not just toys but ALL children’s products. I make hair accessories, so as the CPSIA is written, my little Etsy shop will be closed come February 10!

  2. Paul
    December 15, 2008 | 9:53 pm

    that’s bad. It’ll cost more a lot for an approved of handmade toys

  3. Kerri Anne (
    December 15, 2008 | 10:55 pm

    Thanks for making that great point, Diana!

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