I have only recently found out about the new law which is to go into effect on February 10th. It is called H.R. 4040, regarding the mandatory testing of children's items for lead and other chemicals. In theory, it is a great idea, but could potentially be devastating to the many people who make and sell handmade children's items. I don't personally make/sell anything like that, but I certainly enjoy purchasing a nice handmade item. Many people are urging us all to write to our Congressman. I have just done so. Here is a copy of the letter I have written: (the only difference is in the letter to him, I used my real name. And his. lol!)
Good morning. My name is Guinevere Meadow. I am writing in regards to H.R. 4040. I only recently became aware of this new law, and it may be too late for my opinion to do anything one way or the other, but I wanted to express my unhappiness with this law. While I understand and support the idea that we need higher standards to ensure the safety of children's products, I think this law is extreme and is going to hurt many people. For example, a good friend of mine sews cloth diapers, baby slings, and clothing items which she sells to supplement her family's income. I just placed an order online from another stay-at-home mom for a homemade knitted hat to give to a friend for a baby gift. In a matter of a few days, neither of these two women will be able to continue making and selling children's items. It hurts them, and it hurts people like me, who like to use handmade items when possible, but do not possess the skills necessary to produce my own. If I am going to spend money on something for a child, I would rather see that money go into the hands of another young mother like myself than into the pockets of multinational corporations who outsource work, taking away jobs from Americans, just because they can afford to have their products tested. I would like to see this law changed, to protect people like my friend who produce and sell handmade children's items. Is there way to re-word the law, specifying the number of items a company or person must produce, in order to require the testing? If an item is in MASS production, then yes, I think it should be tested. Not, however, a handmade cloth diaper or baby blanket. While I appreciate the dangers of lead poisoning that has occurred in some products, I really don't think that my child is in danger from a hand-knitted hat and scarf, or a wooden playhouse built by a retired grandfather. Please don't punish ALL makers of children's items for the mistakes of a few. Please trust the American people to make wise choices regarding the purchases they make for their children. I do sincerely hope that something can be done that will BOTH protect our children from truly dangerous products, but will also allow people like my friend to make and sell children's items.
Thank you very much for your time.
If you haven't already, try and dig up the e-mail address of your Congressman. They want to hear from us. We are the ones who elect them; how can they know what is important to us if we don't speak up???