Stash Reduction Part 2

My stash reduction project is coming along nicely. It has been timeconsuming and sometimes hard on my feet and back. The high cutting table that my dear husband made me last Christmas has made it less painful, though. I don’t think I could have done this on a standard table.

A few months ago, I had two boxes of 2″ strips and one box of 1 1/2″ strips. I know have more than that, but that’s okay. I really do use those strips. Recently, I used strips cut from fabrics that I purchased in Germany when my son was a baby. He is 23 years old now.

This is an example of my starting tote, except that it’s too empty to be representative. Virtually all of the totes were absolutely crammed full of fabric and I had to work hard to get the lids to stay on.  This was the second tote full of clear blues (the green/teal blues are in a separate tote.)


As I mentioned in Part 1 of this series, I cut the smaller or narrow pieces of fabric into 2″ or 1 1/2″ strips.  This is from the pink box, obviously – a real priority, since I couldn’t get that one shut even if I sat on it!


This is one of the totes for 2″ strips:


And this is what most of the totes looked like after I had purged them of the scrappy, stringy pieces:


After I cut strips from the blues, I was able to fit the bigger pieces into one tote, which was good, since I needed another tote for strips.

That was the calico.

I have a good friend who sews flannel nightgowns and baby items. She sends me her scraps, and I have been shoving them into miscellaneous “flannel” boxes in the attic. A few weeks ago, I decided that I need new napkins for my diningroom table, so I sent one of my big, strong male people up to the attice to bring down all of the boxes labeled “flannel.” There were four of the 18 gallon Rubbermaid totes crammed full of flannel scraps.

I spent the next few days cutting them into usable squares and strips. I cut squares according to the size of the flannel, starting with 9 1/2″ (still thinking of napkins), all the way down to 4″ squares. Pieces too narrow for squares were cut into 3″, 2 1/2″ and 2″ strips. There were two main groups of squares: sweet baby/child prints and then some that were darker, plaids, wildlife prints, etc. I did not separate the strips – just tossed them into three smaller totes according to width.

With my squares already cut, I was filled with energetic enthusiasm for using them up. In the space of a few days, I made eight baby quilt tops, and I still have piles sitting on my cutting table:









This burst of productivity coincided with a good sale at JoAnn Fabrics, so I picked up some more flannel to use for backing as well as a king sized quilt batting, which can be cut into pieces for the baby quilts. I haven’t actually got to that part yet, but I will. Really.

And I never got around to the napkins.


Winter Clothing

Obviously, clothing with a Scandinavian flavor is more fun to make as winter approaches. I am looking forward to creating some hooded capes and warm jumpers. Bright colors are very important in the long, dark Wisconsin winters, so gray and bleak. The only exceptions are the cardinals and a sky of an impossibly blue blue. So I will fill my sewing room with red and green and blue and gold, and maybe I will invest in some full-spectrum lighting.


Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do, or Do Without!

Do you ever “make over” your clothes? It’s an old-fashioned idea and brings to mind the image of “turning the collars” on men’s shirts. I’m a fairly good dressmaker, so when I make my own clothes, they usually fit me. But everyone has at least some store-bought items. 😉 I am guilty of hanging on to clothes for a long time, even when they don’t fit. I am not talking about losing or gaining weight (well, not entirely), but about “shape.” I am long-waisted, but I do have a waist. Most store-bought clothes have waistlines that hit me 3/4″ – 1″ too high. It’s a bigger deal than you might think. The fullness below the waist – where it flares preparatory for hitting the hips – is over my waist and tummy instead of my hips. It’s not flattering.

Lately, I don’t put up with it. Since I don’t like the way they fit, I don’t wear them. But since they are pretty and they do actually go over my head and I don’t have many clothes, I don’t throw them out. Recently, I restructured two rayon summer dresses. The first one had six rows of shirring in the back. I removed the top two rows of elastic thread and added two at the bottom. VOILA! Instant fit! The other dress had fisheye darts, and I simply turned it inside out and extended the fullest part of the darts downward about 1″ and then lengthened the bottom end of the darts 1″.

I bought a pair of very nice knit pants, and they just didn’t fit at the waist. I realized that they weren’t intended to sit at the natural waist, but I was constantly hitching them up as they slid down my fanny. Since there was room in the crotch length, I opened the back waistband and replaced the elastic with a smaller piece. I also stitched down the bulky faux placket in the flat front and removed the decorative button there, since they always showed (poked out) through the shirt I wore over them. Now the pants fit nicely and look good with a smooth tshirt or sweater. They sit about 1 1/2″ below my natural waistline, and they stay there.

I like bateau necklines, but often they are cut too high. I cut them lower and use a plain rolled hem to finish them. It generally looks just fine. Gaping armholes or those that bind at the arm can be tightened or cut away. Pants can be cut into capris or shorts. Slim the legs or cut a little notch at the bottom side as necessary. Mending and basic alterations in width or length are easy fixes, of course. Holes caused by pulling buttons can be fixed by reinforcing the underside of the placket with a scrap of fabric. Any stitching will be covered by the button. Stretched-out buttonholes can be tightened up with a few whip stitches at one end. Immodest slits in a skirts, or openings at the bottom of a button-front dress, can be sewed up. Pin them carefully if they are rayon or knit, matching the ends at the hem and preventing stretching while you sew.

Patching jeans is easy if you slit the inner leg (or whichever doesn’t have a flat-felled seam) and do your patching on the flat leg. Then restitch the seam. I don’t usually open it all the way down to the hem, since I don’t want to have to redo that. Gray thread usually works best for jeans. Place your patch (a piece of denim from old, cast-off jeans) underneath, pin it in place and stitch it on top. Trim away any frayed threads.

And you know… it’s perfectly legal to remove tags once you own the item. It’s best to pick out the stitches if possible instead of cutting them off.


I’m not really throwing anything away. Stash Reduction Project Part 1

I am making huge progress in my stash reduction process. I have an obscene amount of quilting fabric, but not a lot of yardage but mostly remnants and scraps. And it’s not disorganized; the fabric is already sorted by color or style into Rubbermaid totes, and the totes are neatly labeled on both ends. I have separated all of the dressmaking and other fabrics and store those totes in other parts of the attic, so the “quilting” area of the attic contains only cotton fabric, batting, a few file boxes of quilt class patterns and paperwork, various class supply/visual aid boxes, quilt frames, and other quilt-related stuff tools and supplies. It looks good up there, but those totes are whited sepulchers. They appear nice and clean on the outside, but in reality they are crammed so full of fabric that it’s hard to find and use the pieces I want. It’s a wadded-up mess. Every time I want to do a project, I have to dig through tangles of unusable little pieces and strips, and it’s all so stubbornly wrinkled that I have to wet it down before I can press it smooth. I want my fabric supply to be accessible and usable.

I do have a system, but I have not previously applied it to the entire stash. It’s a big project, and time-consuming, but it works for me. One box at a time, I am sorting through every bit of the fabric. Any pieces smaller than a fat quarter or odd shapes are pressed and cut into 2″ strips. If they are too small for that, I cut them into 1 1/2″ strips. Anything too small for that DOES get thrown away. The remaining fabric pieces get pressed, folded, and put back in their tub. If a larger piece is not square/rectangular, I cut off the odd ends and strip those, replacing the tidied-up larger piece in the tote.

I really do use these strips. OFTEN. It’s a very convenient system for me, because I like scrap quilts. I enjoy rummaging through the ready-to-use strips. The problem is that they multiply. In their nice dark totes, up there in the attic at night, some kind of reproductive process is happening. I currently have two 18-gallon Rubbermaid totes packed full of 2″ strips and one of 1 1/2″ strips, and I need more NOW.

A few months ago, I sewed seven tablerunners and two baby quilts from the 1 1/2″ strip tote without making a noticable dent in the stash. Over the years, I have made innumerable large and small quilts from these boxes, but they never get emptier. Sometimes I get low on one specific color, but sooner or later they reproduce themselves and I once again have enough to make more quilts.

I have dressmaking friends who sometimes send me big boxes of their scraps. When I am organized like this, all of their gift eventually gets used. Efficient organization and storage prevents waste.

Now if only I could apply that concept to my kitchen…


Cranston/VIP Fabrics


I was seriously disappointed today to learn that Cranston is moving their fabric printing plants out of the United States. For many years, I have promoted their fabrics because they were made domestically. It’s always a good thing to provide employment locally. Their fabric has been inexpensive and of a reliable quality. Primarily, however, I endorsed the company because they were extraordinary supporters of their military employees. Reservists are protected by federal law, but Cranston exceeded those minimum requirements. As a military wife and mother, that blesses me even when it’s not my own family.

I am working on an article about fabric selection, and I called their customer service number today to ask some questions. The man on the phone didn’t speak English very clearly, he didn’t know anything about their military reservist support program, and when I got to my questions about the specific “Made in the USA” issues, I was shocked to learn that after June 30, Cranston/VIP/Quilting Treasures fabrics will no longer be printed in the Unted States. They have been printing fabrics in the Unites States since 1824.

From their website: Cranston Print Works Company is a large, diversified corporation with operations in textile consumer goods, transportation, and specialty chemicals. The textile operation began in 1824, at the very beginning of America’s Industrial Revolution, and is distinguished as the oldest textile printing operation in the United States, as well as the largest supplier of printed fabric to the home sewing market. The company’s outstanding reputation for quality, service, versatility, and manufacturing expertise is a direct credit to the employees that work here. We continue to believe that our employees are our strength, and remain committed to employee development. Cranston Print Works is an employee-owned company, wherein the ownership philosophy coupled with the company’s excellence in manufacturing, product design, sales, and marketing, create a culture which encourages achievement and innovation.

I firmly believe in the right of every private business to make their own decisions, but I am personally saddened. I am now on a quest to find new sources of affordable American-made fabric. At the beginning of this war, I made a new quilt for my bed. A very special quilt, made mostly of Cranston/VIP fabrics because I was so grateful for their military support. My husband was no longer in the Air Force, having just finished his reservist commitment, but our oldest son was in the army, stationed in Korea.



CPSIA – Stay of Execution
CPSC Grants One Year Stay of Testing and Certification Requirements for Certain Products
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission voted unanimously (2-0) to issue a one year stay of enforcement for certain testing and certification requirements for manufacturers and importers of regulated products, including products intended for children 12 years old and younger. These requirements are part of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), which added certification and testing requirements for all products subject to CPSC standards or bans.

Significant to makers of children’s products, the vote by the Commission provides limited relief from the testing and certification requirements which go into effect on February 10, 2009 for new total lead content limits (600 ppm), phthalates limits for certain products (1000 ppm), and mandatory toy standards, among other things. Manufacturers and importers – large and small – of children’s products will not need to test or certify to these new requirements, but will need to meet the lead and phthalates limits, mandatory toy standards and other requirements.

The decision by the Commission gives the staff more time to finalize four proposed rules which could relieve certain materials and products from lead testing and to issue more guidance on when testing is required and how it is to be conducted.
The stay will remain in effect until February 10, 2010, at which time a Commission vote will be taken to terminate the stay.

The stay does not apply to:
Four requirements for third-party testing and certification of certain children’s products subject to:
The ban on lead in paint and other surface coatings effective for products made after December 21, 2008;
The standards for full-size and non full-size cribs and pacifiers effective for products made after January 20, 2009;
The ban on small parts effective for products made after February 15, 2009; and
The limits on lead content of metal components of children’s jewelry effective for products made after March 23, 2009.
Certification requirements applicable to ATV’s manufactured after April 13, 2009.
Pre-CPSIA testing and certification requirements, including for: automatic residential garage door openers, bike helmets, candles with metal core wicks, lawnmowers, lighters, mattresses, and swimming pool slides; and
Pool drain cover requirements of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act.

The stay of enforcement provides some temporary, limited relief to the crafters, children’s garment manufacturers and toy makers who had been subject to the testing and certification required under the CPSIA. These businesses will not need to issue certificates based on testing of their products until additional decisions are issued by the Commission. However, all businesses, including, but not limited to, handmade toy and apparel makers, crafters and home-based small businesses, must still be sure that their products conform to all safety standards and similar requirements, including the lead and phthalates provisions of the CPSIA.
Handmade garment makers are cautioned to know whether the zippers, buttons and other fasteners they are using contain lead. Likewise, handmade toy manufacturers need to know whether their products, if using plastic or soft flexible vinyl, contain phthalates.

The stay of enforcement on testing and certification does not address thrift and second hand stores and small retailers because they are not required to test and certify products under the CPSIA. The products they sell, including those in inventory on February 10, 2009, must not contain more than 600 ppm lead in any accessible part. The Commission is aware that it is difficult to know whether a product meets the lead standard without testing and has issued guidance for these companies that can be found on our web site.

They have a few statements in there that I do not believe are strictly accurate, but I am rejoicing that the law has been temporarily stayed in order to give lawmakers a chance to review and rewrite it.

I am encouraged by the fact that the system worked – the voices of concerned Americans actually affected the actions of our public employees. (At least, I like to regard it that way.)


Never Mind….

This is very frustrating. Somehow has convinced the world that they are always right, and they are announcing that the concern over the CPSIA is all “premature hysteria.”

The resale “clarification” issued by the CPSC basically says, “Don’t worry about this. We don’t mean YOU.” But the law has not changed, and if you do any googling (another hybrid word) of the national resale and thrift store associations, you will see that they are not convinced that this places them outside the letter of the law.  The CPSC doesn’t have the authority to change the law – it must be done by legislature.

Opinions regarding and intent of laws don’t really matter. The law must be entirely rewritten to target the real, very important issue.



CPSIA – Great news for thrift stores!
January 8, 2009
Release #09-086 CPSC Recall Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908

CPSC Clarifies Requirements of New Children’s Product Safety Laws Taking Effect in February

Guidance Intended for Resellers of Children’s Products, Thrift and Consignment Stores

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In February 2009, new requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) take effect. Manufacturers, importers and retailers are expected to comply with the new Congressionally-mandated laws. Beginning February 10, 2009, children’s products cannot be sold if they contain more than 600 parts per million (ppm) total lead. Certain children’s products manufactured on or after February 10, 2009 cannot be sold if they contain more that 0.1% of certain specific phthalates or if they fail to meet new mandatory standards for toys.

Under the new law, children’s products with more than 600 ppm total lead cannot lawfully be sold in the United States on or after February 10, 2009, even if they were manufactured before that date. The total lead limit drops to 300 ppm on August 14, 2009.

The new law requires that domestic manufacturers and importers certify that children’s products made after February 10 meet all the new safety standards and the lead ban. Sellers of used children’s products, such as thrift stores and consignment stores, are not required to certify that those products meet the new lead limits, phthalates standard or new toy standards.

The new safety law does not require resellers to test children’s products in inventory for compliance with the lead limit before they are sold. However, resellers cannot sell children’s products that exceed the lead limit and therefore should avoid products that are likely to have lead content, unless they have testing or other information to indicate the products being sold have less than the new limit. Those resellers that do sell products in violation of the new limits could face civil and/or criminal penalties.

When the CPSIA was signed into law on August 14, 2008, it became unlawful to sell recalled products. All resellers should check the CPSC Web site ( for information on recalled products before taking into inventory or selling a product. The selling of recalled products also could carry civil and/or criminal penalties.

The agency intends to focus its enforcement efforts on products of greatest risk and largest exposure. While CPSC expects every company to comply fully with the new laws resellers should [b]pay special attention to certain product categories. Among these are recalled children’s products, particularly cribs and play yards; children’s products that may contain lead, such as children’s jewelry and painted wooden or metal toys; flimsily made toys that are easily breakable into small parts; toys that lack the required age warnings; and dolls and stuffed toys that have buttons, eyes, noses or other small parts that are not securely fastened and could present a choking hazard for young children.[/b]
The agency has underway a number of rulemaking proposals intended to provide guidance on the new lead limit requirements. Please visit the CPSC website at for more information.


CPSIA – Killing American Industry One Cottage at a Time

Monday, January 05, 2009

  • My longest blog post ever – and the most angry!

    I’m sorry… I can’t sew a baby quilt for you.  I might end up in a federal prison.  My sewing machines could be confiscated.  I don’t have $100,000 to pay the fine or even $5000 to get the quilt certified as “safe.”

    If you make anything at all that will possibly be used or worn by children under the age of 12, you are now subject to an appalling new law that requires very expensive laboratory  testing on every single item “batch” you make. For example, if I make a long nightgown from a certain flannel, it has to be tested for lead and other chemicals. That will cost thousands of dollars. If I then make a short nightgown or pajamas from that same fabric, I will have to pay the same amount to have each of those items tested, also. (For simplicity’s sake, let’s assume that the flannel is a nice fire retardant polyester, okay?)  Further, we have to test every component separately. If I make your daughter a dress with elastic in the wrists, a zipper in the back, a ribbon at the waist and buttons on the front, and even a hook and eye at the top of the zipper, I would have to send the finished garment to a lab and have every single element of that garment separately tested.  If I make the same garment with short sleeves, I have to start all over.  That dress would cost you about $7000.

    Can you imagine what it would cost for me to make you a scrap quilt for your new baby?  Every fabric, thread and batting would have to be individually tested by a laboratory.  That quilt would cost $12,000.

    Unfortunately, I can’t sell you a quilt I have already made or finish a quilt top and sell that –  the law is retroactive.


    Somehow, this sweeping legislation – the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA)was passed with great enthusiasm under the banner of “child safety.”  Presumably it was spawned by the lead-tainted articles imported from China, but our elected officials have applied it to every large and small manufacturer and retailer in America.  It goes into effect on February 10, 2009. The official federal website trumpets it as one of their major accomplishments:

    The Consumer Protection/Toy Safety bill.   In addition to giving the Consumer Product Safety Commission the tools and resources it needs to fulfill its responsibility of protecting the American public, this legislation will implement the toughest lead standard for toys in the world.   It will also require manufacturers to include tracking labels to aid in the event of a recall and mandate third-party testing of toys.  The bill passed the Committee unanimously and the House by a vote of 407 to 0.

    Suddenly, this is big news. No one noticed it when it happened. After all, it was an election year and our legislators were trying to impress us with how they were “protecting” us. I don’t believe any of them read past the first paragraph of the bill when it was introduced.

    The testing costs cannot be absorbed by small and medium-sized businesses. At typical net profit levels prevailing in the children’s products industry, the $6,144 cost of testing probably exceeds the anticipated total net profit derived from three or more years’ sales of the item. This does NOT take into account the cost of development, the cash expense of buying the inventory or the cost of owning inventory (usually estimated at 2.5% per month). Given that children’s products have finite commercial lives (three years is a good life for a consumer product), the CPSIA test costs might exceed the present value of creating a new item for many, if not most, businesses. So, will this product ever come to market? Not under the CPSIA. The only products left for sale will be mass market items where the scale of their production runs can support this wasteful expense.

    Does your grandpa make little wood toys or dolls to sell at craft shows or the church bazaar? Sorry, he is officially retired.


    A Proposal From the

    In 2007, large toy manufacturers who outsource their production to China and other developing countries violated the public’s trust. They were selling toys with dangerously high lead content, toys with unsafe small parts, toys with improperly secured and easily swallowed small magnets, and toys made from chemicals that made kids sick. Almost every problem toy in 2007 was made in China.

    The United States Congress rightly recognized that the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) lacked the authority and staffing to prevent dangerous toys from being imported into the US. So, they passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in August, 2008. Among other things, the CPSIA bans lead and phthalates in toys, mandates third-party testing and certification for all toys and requires toy makers to permanently label each toy with a date and batch number.

    All of these changes will be fairly easy for large, multinational toy manufacturers to comply with. Large manufacturers who make thousands of units of each toy have very little incremental cost to pay for testing and updating their molds to include batch labels.
    For small American, Canadian, and European toymakers, however, the costs of mandatory testing, to the tune of up to $4,000 per toy, will likely drive them out of business. And the handful of larger toy makers who still employ workers in the United States face increased costs to comply with the CPSIA, even though American-made toys had nothing to do with the toy safety problems of 2007. Toy makers won’t be the only ones impacted by the CPSIA, the thousands of US businesses who offer clothing, jewelry and other gifts for children –in essence– the entire children’s industry will be as well.

    The CPSIA simply forgot to exclude the class of toys that have earned and kept the public’s trust. The result, unless the law is modified, is that handmade children’s products will no longer be legal in the US.

    Thriving small businesses are crucial to the financial health of our nation. Let’s amend the CPSIA so that all businesses large and small are able to comply and survive!

    But really, it’s not just small businesses, either – every single mass-produced thing that children use, from diapers to crib sheets to sneakers to Barbie dolls to hairbrushes to mittens to light switch plates to backpacks… Things are going to be very expensive. Think you will be doing more shopping at thrift stores and yard sales and on ebay?  WRONG!    As I said earlier, the law is retroactive. Those old, used, uncertified articles of clothing and toys and books and everything else will be classified as hazardous materials. They go straight to the landfill (presumably one approved for hazmat.) Retailers can pay to have all their merchandise tested, of course, but do you really thing that Goodwill and the Salvation Army – let alone the small local charitable thrift stores – can pay for such a thing? MOST of their merchandise is one-of-a-kind. The consignment shops who know about the law have stopped accepting consignments.,0,6936608,print.story

    From the Los Angeles Times

    New safety rules for children’s clothes have stores in a fit

    Some owners say the cost of testing for toxic lead and phthalates will shut their businesses. The law goes into effect Feb. 10.

    By Alana Semuels

    January 2, 2009

    Barring a reprieve, regulations set to take effect next month could force thousands of clothing retailers and thrift stores to throw away trunkloads of children’s clothing.

    The law, aimed at keeping lead-filled merchandise away from children, mandates that all products sold for those age 12 and younger — including clothing — be tested for lead and phthalates, which are chemicals used to make plastics more pliable. Those that haven’t been tested will be considered hazardous, regardless of whether they actually contain lead.

    “They’ll all have to go to the landfill,” said Adele Meyer, executive director of the National Assn. of Resale and Thrift Shops.

    The new regulations take effect Feb. 10 under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which was passed by Congress last year in response to widespread recalls of products that posed a threat to children, including toys made with lead or lead-based paint.

    Supporters say the measure is sorely needed. One health advocacy group said it found high levels of lead in dozens of products purchased around the country, including children’s jewelry, backpacks and ponchos.

    Lead can also be found in buttons or charms on clothing and on appliques that have been added to fabric, said Charles Margulis, communications director for the Center for Environmental Health in Oakland. A child in Minnesota died a few years ago after swallowing a lead charm on his sneaker, he said.

    But others say the measure was written too broadly. Among the most vocal critics to emerge in recent weeks are U.S.-based makers of handcrafted toys and handmade clothes, as well as thrift and consignment shops that sell children’s clothing.

    “We will have to lock our doors and file for bankruptcy,” said Shauna Sloan, founder of Salt Lake City-based franchise Kid to Kid, which sells used children’s clothing in 75 stores across the country and had planned to open a store in Santa Clara, Calif., this year.

    Clothing and thrift trade groups say the law is flawed because it went through Congress too quickly. By deeming that any product not tested for lead content by Feb. 10 be considered hazardous waste, they contend, stores will have to tell customers that clothing they were allowed to sell Feb. 9 became banned overnight.

    These groups say the law should be changed so that it applies to products made after Feb. 10, not sold after that date.

    That would take action by Congress, however, because the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s general counsel has already determined that the law applies retroactively, said commission spokesman Scott Wolfson.

    Thrift store owners say the law stings because children’s garments often come in new or nearly new, because children typically outgrow clothing quickly.

    Carol Vaporis, owner of Duck Duck Goose Consignment in New Port Richey, Fla., said her store stocks barely used brand-name clothing from places such as Limited Too and Gymboree.

    “We really provide a service to the community to help people get clothes for their children they otherwise couldn’t afford,” she said.

    Families have been bringing more clothes to consignment stores, where they get a chunk of the proceeds, to earn a little cash this winter, she said. She plans to contact her congressional representatives and senators to ask them to amend the law but says there’s not enough awareness about the repercussions of the law to force anything to change.

    Many retailers and thrift stores appear to be unaware that the law is changing. Of half a dozen Southern California children’s thrift stores contacted by The Times, only one had heard of the law. Organizations such as Goodwill say they’re still investigating how the law will affect them because there is so much confusion about what will be banned.

    Cynthia Broockman, who owns two consignment stores and a thrift shop in Virginia, recently stopped accepting children’s products for resale. “I think it’s not understood by people how sweeping and far-reaching this is,” she said. “The ripples that are going to go forth from this are just astonishing.”


    And a subject near and dear to homeschoolers’ hearts: BOOKS!

    Book burning on Feb. 10th 2009 due to CPSIA

    (written to booksellers about the CPSIA law)

    The truly bizarre part is that the new regulations apply retroactively. Even if it was printed 50 years ago and the publisher no longer exists, you need to have a certificate proving it’s not filled with lead. Even if it is the only remaining copy of a rare children’s book worth thousands of dollars and only will ever be handled by collectors, you cannot sell it because you can’t prove it is not filled with lead.

    Anything manufactured after November 10th 2008 should have come with a certificate certifying it has been tested for lead. If your distributor didn’t provide one, you need to call and get one. As of February 10th, it’s in fact illegal for your distributor to sell you a kids’ book without a certificate of lead testing, no matter when it was printed.

    Objects without a certification still have to be tested. So those copies of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows that were printed in 2007 that are still available new at Amazon may have to be destroyed as of February 10th 2009 because they haven’t been tested for lead. (Amazon is taking this seriously and sent a mail to all affiliates asking them to provide the lead testing certificates for all items)

    How bad can the punishment be? For selling books? Up to $100,000 PER ITEM and up to five years in jail. It’s also a felony. Get busted, you may lose your right to vote in some states. Even if you can fight it in court, you’ll likely go broke doing so and your local newspaper will carry the headline “Local business selling lead tainted goods”… even though you know they aren’t. Good luck getting them to print the retraction months or years later after that PR disaster.

    This includes not just selling, but distribution. So you can’t donate the untested goods to your local library, Good Will, or literacy program. You also can’t sell them to overseas collectors either, as they’re illegal to export. (preventing dumping of truly toxic goods on third world markets is one of the few good portions of this law. Good job on that, bad job on the rest)


    Here is the most comprehensive and authoritative resource I can find on this issue:  Note that she says that she can provide a certain kind of testing at reasonable prices on existing merchandise for the next six months –  after that, the expanded testing must be done at specific authorized private laboratories.


    The bill was very thorough. There are provisions for how a seller can describe or advertise an item. You are not going to get away with selling teddy bears or diapers or children’s books by labeling them as “adult”. In addition, there is funding for people to search out and turn in those malefactors who are selling mislabeled or undocumented items. Is that what was meant by “creating jobs?” Or shall we just rejoice in the plethora of new private labs that will spring up to accommodate the need?

    This isn’t about protecting our children. It’s about legislators in an election year, passing bills without reading or researching them.  It’s about building monopolies for large manufacturers and retailers as the only ones who can afford to participate in such a large-scale certification and tracking system. No one wants our children endangered. But realistically, this is government control gone amuck.  And no one even knows about it!!


    And really, if anyone thinks this will eliminate further tainted products from China, they are very naive. I expect that they will test one of a million Barbie dolls and that is supposed to assure us that the rest are similarly safe. There will be spot checks, of course, but the sheer volume of merchandise will drown out any problems. 

    OF COURSE all the imported Chinese merchandise will be lead free. And the gymnasts really were over 16.

    OH – another very good article about this: Nice clear outline of the issues.