Sunday, January 11, 2009

New Lead Law Will Effect Small Business

Okay let me first say, I think I am a little behind on this because I just heard about it a couple of days ago. All the reading I do, and this somehow slipped past me. If you have no idea what I am talking about, there is a new law that goes into effect Feb 10th 2009. The basics of the law is that all manufactures, both buyers and sellers, of products geared towards children under the age of 12 must meet new lead testing standards. The cost of said test is 300-400 dollars, per product. This includes clothing, accessories, and toys. I did not even know clothing contained lead.

I have been doing some research for the past few days, because of course I had questions. First off it says that resellers, thrift stores, and consignment stores do not need to test their current or future inventory. However they can not sell products known to contain lead, or items that have been recalled by manufacturers.

Second the law does say that this law should not put a financial strain on small business, and crafters because they should not be able to buy supplies that contain lead. In other words, the people that crafters buy their supplies from should not be selling supplies that do not meet the new laws guidelines.

As someone who makes jewelry, not that I think anyone under 12 has ever received my items, I was still concerned. So I looked up if gemstones, and or precious metals contain lead. The basic answer was no. However some hand crafted beads, and glass based products can contain lead. Here is the the law that I found concerning this: http://www.cpsc.gov/library/foia/foia09/brief/leadlimits.pdf

Even though it seems that I do not use any of the products that would be banned, I am still nervous. Since I buy my settings, from crafters who make the settings, who is ultimately responsible? The crafter that makes the settings, or me the seller that buys and uses them. I find the law to be very vague in this respect, and also how will they be monitoring all of this. I dont see how it is possible to police the whole industry.

Also what about coin sellers. I can only assume that there are some children who collect coins. I assume this will effect them as well, but maybe not as they did not make the coins.

I am at a quandry as what to do, but for now I will be adding a disclaimer to this blog, and my Etsy store stating that none of my products are available for sale to anyone who is purchasing them for a child 12 or under. I will also be adding this to my invoice, and the buyer must agree in writing which will be saved for my records. This may be extreme, but I do not intend to stop making jewelry, because big business wants to put small business, out of business.

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