Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Join the CPSIA Mail-In Protest

Congress really needs to do something about CPSIA, but it's not likely it'll come to their attention, busy as they'll be with passing everything the Democrats have ever wanted like a kid in a candy store. So if we want them to do something about it, we'll have to get their attention in a way that emails and letters can't.

A while back I organized a mail-in protest on Etsy. This is still ongoing. Anyone can participate, not just Etsians. We are targeting Rep. Bobby Rush because he is one of the main sponsors of the bill and also the head of the Energy and Commerce committee and so this monstrosity is his baby.

Participation is easy. All you have to do is drop something in the mail. You don't have to be a manufacturer, either. If you make a product that is endangered by CPSIA, mail it to Rep. Rush. If you can't spare one, or if you don't make an endangered product, send an empty box with a picture of the product inside. You can even send a used children's book; they're endangered too. The goal is to flood his office with physical reminders of the unintended consequences of CPSIA. Letters are great, but a stack of 500 letters isn't that large. A stack of 500 packages, however... if he has to step over them to get into his office, so much the better!

Be sure to enclose a letter explaining why you are sending this. Suggested letters are below. Please feel free to steal any of this text for your own use, and please feel free to alter it according to your needs. There are more examples of letters peppered throughout the Etsy forum thread.

Let's keep this protest going until they change the law, even after Feb. 10 if necessary (although I hope it won't be necessary).


Address letters to:

Rep. Bobby Rush
2416 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515

Let's make sure we don't put "Hazardous Substance" on the outside of the box, or else they'll have to call in the bomb squad or something.

Suggested text #1:

On Feb. 10, 2009 this item will turn into a
Don't let this happen!

I am a crafter [or artisan; I don't want to reopen that debate] who makes and sells one of a kind items for children. It is financially and physically impossible for me to do all the lead testing that the CPSIA requires. Since all my products will legally be classified as "hazardous substances" on Feb. 10, 2009, I am sending one as a gift to you. How else am I going to get rid of it, if it will be a felony to sell it? Hopefully you can find something to do with it before Feb. 10 too, so that you don't have to call in the hazmat team to take it away.

Of course, Rep. Rush, if your committee would reconsider the interpretation of the CPSIA, I might not have to go out of business...

[your name]

Suggested Text #2 (for empty box):

Everyone loves getting a gift at Christmas [or holiday] time! Guess what I got for Christmas? A law that says that on February 10, 2009, it's going to be a felony to sell this [name of item]. Yes, at the stroke of midnight on that day, this cute, cuddly, [list appropriate adjectives here] [name of item] is going to turn not into a pumpkin, but into a piece of "hazardous material!" You see, it's financially and practically impossible for me to test each and every one of my one of a kind products for lead to comply with the CPSIA. So I'm going to have to go out of business, which is too bad because the money I make selling these supports [my family, my autistic kid's therapy, whatever is applicable].

So what did you and the American public get for Christmas? Well, I know what they're NOT getting next year... one of these. Thanks to you, our kids are now safe from handmade [plural name of item]!

[your name]