“To begin requiring third party testing to the ASTM F-963 standard will dramatically and permanently harm small batch toymakers,” shares Dan Marshall, HTA President and owner of Peapods Natural Toys (MN). “We are therefore petitioning the Commission to delay the publication of lab certification standards for ASTM F-963 or to stay indefinitely the enforcement of the ASTM F-963 third party testing requirement for small batch manufacturers.”
Currently, Congress is considering substantive changes to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) which would significantly reduce the compliance costs for small batch manufacturers. “We have received clear indications from the leadership of both the Democratic and Republican parties of their intention to modify the CPSIA in order to reduce its unintended consequences for small batch manufacturers,” states Randall Hertzler, HTA Vice President and owner of euroSource (PA). “While this legislation is pending and progressing, it is simply unnecessary to employ a ruling that will imperil thousands of small business.”
“The vast majority of HTA members are extremely small businesses, consisting of no employees, very small revenues and a limited number of products produced in short quantities,” explains Jill Chuckas, HTA Board member and owner of Crafty Baby (CT). “Yet, the CPSIA treats these micro businesses exactly the same as large, multi-national corporations. A typical HTA manufacturer making only a few thousand units of a toy per year simply cannot afford to absorb fixed testing costs (often at $500 to $3500 per toy created).”
The HTA also states concerns regarding the timing of this proposed rule making, which, by estimates, will bring ASTM F-963 into effect in mid-October, directly in the middle of holiday production runs. “Large companies who mass produce product for holiday sales complete their production runs at least 6 months prior to sale,” shares Mary Newell, HTA Treasurer and owner of Terrapin Toys (OR). “Imposing third party testing requirements in mid-October will have a much more negative impact of small batch toymakers like those in our membership who generally are crafting and creating product right up until the actual holidays.”
“For almost 3 years now, our membership has been working tirelessly together in order to better understand and manage the CPSIA. The basic language within the law is extremely difficult at best for our membership to comprehend, particularly without the assistance of attorneys and technical support staff,” states Marshall. “We have urged the Commission to author a simplified guide to the ASTM F-963 standards for small businesses, to no avail. Without such clear guidance, small batch manufacturers cannot negotiate fairly or openly with the third party labs they would be required to employ.”
The HTA consists of 653 member businesses, including retail stores, toymakers and children's product manufacturers from across the country who want to preserve consumer access to unique handmade toys, clothes and all manner of small batch children's goods in the USA. Formed in November of 2008 in response to the CPSIA, HTA members are parents, grandparents and consumers who are passionate about their businesses as well as the safety of the children in their lives. While in support of the spirit of the law, the unintended consequences of the CPSIA have motivated members of the HTA to work to enact change at a federal level. For more information, visit www.handmadetoyalliance.org.
Image from Wee Wonderfuls.