Archive for the 'Current Events' Category

Twitter Unfairly Suspended Me

Update: The problem has been corrected and Twitter has explained it (somewhat) here: http://status.twitter.com/post/136164828/restoring-accidentally-suspended-accounts

Since I cannot access my Twitter account to tweet about this I guess I’ll just have to blog about it! Since I have found I am not the only one affected by this problem, I sure hope Twitter fixes it!

So I came home from vacation and found I could not log into my Twitter account, it had been suspended! Since I do not do anything that violates their Terms of Service I was really upset about this! I sent them a support ticket and this is what I received in reply:

## In replies all text above this line is added to the ticket ##
Ticket #411491: I came back from vacation t…
Hi there, funfelt!

This is an automated response to share reasons why Twitter suspends accounts for spam/abuse investigation. If you’re reporting spam, please report spam in the future by following @spam and sending us a direct message, or by blocking the spam accounts you come across, as we closely monitor blocked accounts.

Please visit your own profile page to make sure you’re actually suspended and not viewing another person’s suspended profile page– many people think they are suspended when they aren’t. You’ll know you’re suspended if you log in and see a red notice announcing your suspension on your account. Continue reading ‘Twitter Unfairly Suspended Me’

Until next time...
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CPSIA On Hold

Hello everyone! We have good news tonight, just in time for me to take off on my Story Time Felts incentive trip to Disney World in Florida! I am excited to say that I can truly relax and enjoy my trip now that there has been a ONE YEAR HOLD put on most parts of the CPSIA. This means that the CPSC will use the upcoming year to clarify the law, provide guidelines for compliance, and decide on appropriate exemptions that will enable lead-free products to continue production. I know this is not the end, but it is a big relief to many small businesses. Read the CPSC press release below, it clearly shows how they understand the burden this was going to place not only on small businesses but on the CPSC which is already overburdened and underfunded. Hooray! You can also read enforcement guidelines released 2/6/09. Copied directly from the CPSC website:

NEWS from CPSC

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Office of Information and Public Affairs Washington, DC 20207

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 30, 2009
Release #09-115
CPSC Recall Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908


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:
  • 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.

The Commission trusts that State Attorneys General will respect the Commission’s judgment that it is necessary to stay certain testing and certification requirements and will focus their own enforcement efforts on other provisions of the law, e.g. the sale of recalled products.

Please visit the CPSC Web site at www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/cpsia.html for more information on all of the efforts being made to successfully implement the CPSIA.

Statements on this vote by Acting Chairman Nancy Nord and Commissioner Thomas H. Moore are in portable document format (PDF).

Send the link for this page to a friend! The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. The CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard. The CPSC’s work to ensure the safety of consumer products – such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals – contributed significantly to the decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.

To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC’s hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC’s teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270, or visit CPSC’s web site at www.cpsc.gov/talk.html. To join a CPSC email subscription list, please go to https://www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.aspx. Consumers can obtain this release and recall information at CPSC’s Web site at www.cpsc.gov.

Until next time...
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CPSIA is a Mistake

So much wisdom has already been posted about the CPSIA, but I’d like to use today’s “Blog-In” post to remind everyone that America is a country of innovation. Many many many things that exist today worldwide began in someone’s American home or garage, or in a small American company.

If this law is not changed in time, it affects far more than the crafters or small businesses, or the economies of our communities, states and nation. It affects the American way of life, the hope for a better tomorrow that we hold so dearly as one of our core truths, and through our children’s increased lack of resources and teaching tools, it affects our future.

What will happen when American children only have access to foreign-made mass produced products? What will happen when, over time, generations grow up thinking that America cannot provide what they need, that we have to go elsewhere? It’s already happening with electronics, do we really want to continue that trend with everything our children touch?

Lead limits are fine, I agree with moving toward that. But change this to require *component testing* only so that innovative manufacturers small and large are free to continue to imagine and create wonderful things for our children, and therefore our future, using safe or certified raw materials and supplies.

Readers, don’t address your concerns to the CPSC, address them to your Congressmen who can address Congress’ Committee on Energy and Commerce who pushed this law through. They made a MISTAKE and the rest of Congress, whether due to being in a hurry, mob mentality, or special interest pressure, followed along without considering how devastating this will be.

Can we count on them to DO better, now that they KNOW better?

Karen Clark
Independent Consultant for
Story Time Felts

Until next time...
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CPSIA Information

Welcome! For more information about my Story Time Felts business, visit FunFelt.com We offer imaginative children’s educational felt products such as felt boards for storytelling fun, felt paper dolls, felt quiet books, and more!


My business and thousands of others are being threatened by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which will go into effect in phase 1 on February 10th, 2009. This law, which unfortunately was pushed through last year without forethought as to the ramifications for small business, will effectively limit the small business children’s products industry by requiring redundant, expensive, and ultimately destructive testing for lead and phthalates on new product as well as current inventory. I believe that these limits do need to be put in place and supported, however the manner in which the law was written will result in many small businesses and manufacturers destroying current inventory, limiting their product lines or going out of business all together.

These are just some of the categories of products this law will affect:

  • books, including library books
  • infant equipment
  • childcare supplies including diapers
  • children’s clothing including babies to age 12
  • all toys for children birth to 12
  • stuffed animals
  • birthday party goods, decorations, supplies
  • wooden “natural” toys
  • hand-made children’s toys/goods/crafts
  • homeschooling materials
  • art and school supplies for children
  • children’s musical instruments
  • teaching materials and textbooks
  • bicycles and outdoor equipment for children
  • resale and consignment clothing and products
  • prizes/incentive items for children
  • bedroom furniture items and bedding
  • girls’ jewelry and dress up items
  • hand made baby blankets, booties, and hats
  • religious education products
  • sporting equipment designed for children
  • science and math hands-on teaching tools
  • kindergarten and preschool learning through play items
  • children’s shoes, backpacks and other accessories

This law, as it stands today, requires every person who distributes a children’s product in any way (selling, lending, donating) to be sure that the finished product meets the lead and phthalate limit outlined in the law or face fines up to $100,000. They are to do so by ensuring that the original manufacturer or the finished product and the original manufacturer of the raw materials have obtained scientific testing and General Conformity Certificates for the finished product and each individual variations of that product, all individual components of the finished product, every single time a “lot” or “batch” is produced, whether it is a one time production of a one of a kind item, or a lot of 1000s. With certified testing running anywhere from $100 to $5000 per product, it is easy to see how this could put small businesses who produce small quantities out of business. That fact that it is retroactive and applies to existing inventory is enough to put someone out of business. Currently, XRF (x-ray) testing is permissible and tends to be a lower cost, but is not widely available. By August 14, 2009, all testing must be done by a certified 3rd party laboratory using testing that destroys the sample. The costs for this testing is truly exorbitant except for those companies who are producing mass quantities large enough to recuperate the costs.

The affect on our livelihoods and lifestyles as Americans will be affected by this law, as only the larger corporations, including those whose products are produced in foreign countries, will be able to continue doing business in the USA. We will be left with only mass produced items and lose the charm and innovation of Made in the USA products for children. Jobs will be lost as companies go out of business or reduce their reach. Our stores are already beginning to close down, and clear their shelves of non-compliant products, toys, clothing, and books. Thrift stores will no longer carry children’s product, eliminating an affordable option for many families in these tough times. Libraries will not be able to allow children to check out books. This is a serious problem that needs attention.

What can we do? Although this law has already passed and will go into effect February 10th, both Congress and the Consumer Product Safety Commission appear to be open to feedback for possible exemptions or amendments to this law. Contacting Congress, especially those on the Committee for Energy and Commerce who drafted this law, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and your local representatives to let them know that this will affect either your business, the local economy, the available products for your family, or someone you know directly.

Below are some website links to government resources and contact information, press releases, news articles and media coverage about this law.

Consumer Product Safety Commission:

Congress and its Committee on Energy and Commerce:

From Experts in the Field:

Print and Online Articles:

Video:

Audio:

If you know of any other resources I should add to this list, please let me know in the comments. Thanks in advance for helping raise awareness of this cause!

Until next time...
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Contact Congress

According to SaveKidsResale, there is a closed door Congressional Staffer meeting tomorrow (1-16-09) about CPSIA. Today and tomorrow would be a REALLY good day to CALL, email and FAX everyone in congress you can think of as well as the CPSC. For more information about the CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act) please see my previous post about this issue. You can also see this CNN article from Jan. 15, 2009 that outlines just the very tip of the iceberg.

Here are some resources that can help you:

Tips on contacting your elected officials by phone, mail, email.This site includes search-by-zip-code for your area’s representatives.

HR 4040 record including which elected officials voted and how, and timeline/record of the law from govtrack.us

Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act PDF Download from CPSC

Information about the Act from the Consumer Product Safety Commission

Updates:

Until next time...
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