Wednesday, 10 December 2008

New Legislation Threatens the Handmade Community

By an act of Congress, as of February 10, 2009, all items intended for children under 12 years of age, that have not been tested and certified as within the legal limits for lead content, will be deemed a "Hazardous Substance."

This new law, purposed and ratified for the purpose of stopping the numerous lead-filled imports from China, and containing absolutely no exceptions, whatsoever, for any US based companies - whether as large as Wal-mart or as small as Sally Mae sewing children's dresses in her living room in front of the TV - has caused small time manufacturers to deem February 10th "National Bankruptcy  Day." 

This is the day when thousands - hundreds of thousands - of small time manufacturers and one-woman-wonders will be forced to close up shop because they are not able to afford to meet the new requirement: mandatory third-party lead testing. This issue is further intensified because even the products they have on hand, will go from being perfectly acceptable on February 9 to a hazardous substance on February 10. They will no longer even be allowed to make children's items for charity. 

Does everyone understand the ramifications of this? 

Think about the economic ramifications. 
1. Hundreds of thousands of small time manufacturers no longer selling products to supplement their family's income. Less income.
2. Hundreds of thousands of small time manufacturers no longer buying supplies. And some of these folks buy SUPPLIES. Less spending. 

I don't know much about economic matters, but I do know that less income + less spending = weaker economy. 

Let's think about the charitable ramifications. Crafters are some of the greatest donators of tangible, kind, helpful goods.  There are massive programs out there of thousands upon thousands of knitters and crocheters (this is one area I happen to know about) making baby blankets, booties, squares for afgans, hats, preemie clothing (a BIG group), and all of these charitable contributions will have to stop on February 10. Ladies will no longer be permitted to buy some yarn at Walmart, make a baby blanket,  and just give it to charity - who gives a "hazardous substance" to charity?

These ladies aren't out buying metal yarn, or taking it home and pumping pencil lead into it (yes, I know pencil lead is actually made of graphite, but you get my drift), they're sitting in front of the telly crocheting baby booties to sell on Etsy, or knitting a baby hat for "Cap for Kids." And in a month, that will all come to an end. 

This is a truly sad day for America. 


  1. Oh my! That is terrible! Such a sweeping law. .

  2. PS - I just bought some darling baby leg warmers off of Esty. . I'm a happy client, and the seller is I'm sure happy to make some money. So neither of us in the future could have the satisfaction of a deal like this?

  3. Sadly, no. Many of the children's items sellers on Etsy will either be changing direction or closing up shop. :(

  4. This is sad. I, for one, was the recipient of preemie baby booties and caps, knitted by lovely ladies, when my twins were born. A gift from the hospital. Since they were born during winter, they were put to good use. I still have them and they look as good as the day we received them. Oh, by the way, my twins are now 27 and doing well.

  5. This is interesting - thanks for posting it. What would happen if the government were to run everything??? Scary.

  6. Very well-written article.

    I wonder, though, how this law could ever be enforced. Are they really going to nab each individual crafter? Are they going to comb the craft shows for renegade plushie makers? I'm so disappointed in our lawmakers and I hope this law falls flat on its face!!

    I love your Etsy shop, esp. the bacon and eggs scarf!