Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Making the Best...

So there has been a small flurry of online discussion about the big lead testing laws that are going into effect on February 10th. You may recall that I posted about this issue a little while ago (http://becausethatiswhatmylifeislikerightnow.blogspot.com/2008/12/toys-and-toxins.html), and it seems appropriate now that the law has passed that we look honestly at [1] how we failed as citizens to create enough activism or discussion to even get a little bit of resistance to this legistlation from House or Senate (between the two, there were only four-- yes FOUR!!!-- votes against) and [2] where to go from here. Where to go now? That's my big question. There are good advocacy suggestions in the blog I link to in the post I've linked above, but I'd like to know what type of actions make the biggest difference after the fact.

Of primary concern in my mind are the small businesses and artisans. Even though some are still worried about resale businesses, those at least have some exemptions written into the law and so are the least of my concerns.

Meanwhile, I am seriously considering a dumpster diving adventure at toy and department stores around February 10th. Making the best, you know, out of a bad situation...

5 comments:

hopalong said...

My understanding is that second-hand sellers, while they don't have to be the ones to certify their items for lead content, are not allowed to sell items with lead above allowable levels. Sounds fine, except:

Everything without a certificate is assumed to have levels of lead that exceed the CPSIA standards. So, it sounds as if they will have to dump all their inventory... or just hope they can get some inventory with certificates attached?

Another point of frustration is that much of the CPSIA seems pretty vague, and the CPSC doesn't seem so willing to clarify -- at least not without contradicting themselves later on.

Silver Gerety said...

One of the "nay" votes was my man Ron Paul, who knows the constitution is pretty awesome.

Masasa said...

Silver, ha ha.

I think there are some good elected leaders out there on both sides of the fence, and in between, who voted for it. I mean of course folks are thinking lead=bad for children. And who wants to be the one to vote for lead in toys by voting against an anti-lead-in-toys law? But unfortunately, the conversation seems to have stopped there and this seems to have only been considered on the surface not by a small or even large group of folks but basically by the entirety of the legislative branch. Still, I think it was a public failure as much as a failure of our elected leaders. How many of us took the time to communicate how we wanted our interests represented in this case? I certainly didn't do all I could have. A couple emails, and that was that.

Heather, yes I agree second hand sellers are in a good position. I guess I am trying to prioritize my concerns by degree of potential impact and ability to work around the law creatively, though I am not sure prioritizing in this case matters any except that it gives me more focus.

Masasa said...

Whoops, in the final paragraph above it should have read:
"Heather, yes I agree second hand sellers are *not* in a good position."

Sorry about that.

hopalong said...

I agree, too, that it was a failure on our collective part as much as of the legislature. I put in a vote on change.org, and I'm going to write my congresspeople, but I don't know how much that's going to do.

One woman posted her congresswoman's reply letter (don't know where she was from; it was just signed with her DC office address), and it was painfully obvious that no one had bothered to take a look at the letter that she'd written in the first place -- it didn't address any of the concerns she'd raised about small businesses and individual artisans and crafters, and was instead just "as a mom myself, I understand how important it is to protect kids from lead" blah blah blah.

I don't think the CPSIA will go on forever unaltered, but the matter of when it will be altered can really make the difference in a small crafter (and others affected) going out of business :(

Also, yay for perfect timing in this economy!