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Safety, At What Price?

Next month, a new law called the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) takes effect. It mandates that all products that are sold to children under the age of 12 must be tested for lead levels. As a parent, of course I want the safest possible products for my children. As a small business owner, I am stunned by the ramifications this new law will have.

At first I thought: what a great new law. Now I am wringing my hands and biting my nails like thousands of other small business owners and wondering if February 10, 2009 will be the “National Bankruptcy Day” as it is being called in blogs, newspapers, and forums around the country.

My company produces and sells educational DVDs to children. Although I do not think young children will be putting the DVDs in their mouths, my product falls under the umbrella of products that must be tested. In fact, the wording of the new law is so broad and so general that every single product out there that will be marketed to children under the age of 12 must have the conformity certificate stating it does not contain certain lead levels. Basically the only things excluded are firearms, and alcohol.

For large companies this is a drop in the bucket. For small businesses, the cost it will take to get the testing done is devastating. It has and will cause many small businesses to fold. In today’s grim economic society, the small business owner is faced with yet another gigantic mountain to climb, and many will not make it over.

There need to be acceptable options for us small business owners and we’re asking lawmakers to look closely at the wording and to consider making regulations that are more acceptable and easier to attain.

As it stands now, companies that sell baby blankets or wraps have to have every single material of every single product tested. Or like me, we will have to get our Spanish for Children DVD tested, including the ink, the amray case, the plastic wrap, the DVD itself, and the paper from the insert.

This will cost thousands of dollars which for many small businesses means that the cost of testing will outweigh any potential profit. I am doing as much research as I can but I refuse to let myself get completely freaked out. I have worked too hard to see my business go under because of this new regulation.

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