Family of N

Open Letter to My Representatives

Posted in Government by Laura on January 16, 2009
Photo by Laura

I was extremely disappointed to learn that the new requirements for lead testing in children’s items do not exclude small businesses or products made from only lead-free materials. Requiring both the components and the final products to be tested imposes excessive burdens on small businesses, and the effects of this are passed on to me, the consumer. I’m not happy.

Many of my favorite vendors closing or limiting production in response to the law. I have enjoyed the variety of beautiful and unique handmade items I have been able to purchase for my daughter and for children of friends, products made with materials that anyone with common sense will recognize as lead-free (yarn, cloth, wood). The vendors who sell these products are adding wonderful options for consumers and are often a vital part of their family’s income.

Why would the US Government needlessly put these people out of business and increase the cost of the products that do remain? I would expect that in a troubled economy, our representatives would be careful not to extinguish thriving businesses without a good reason. And the fact that lead-based paints are used in some children’s toys is not enough reason to require testing for an unpainted wood rattle or a crocheted bonnet or a self-published children’s book.

The law needs to be rethought and rewritten, considering these and other consequences, or repealed altogether. It is not acceptable to provide a clarification that does not have the weight of law or that does not explicitly protect vendors of obviously lead-free products. There is no excuse for passing a law that turns woodworkers and bonnet-makers into criminals.


I followed Connie’s link and sent this to each of my representatives. I hope you will consider doing the same.

Updated to add this link to the Handmade Toy Alliance which explains the issue more eloquently than I did.

And to a Flickr album of endangered items.

And to post this video that also explains more about this silliness.

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