Wednesday, January 07, 2009

How the CPSC feels towards small businesses

This is a letter response sent to one small business owner. I don't know the person, but it was posted on a group I am on. Out of respect for the original author, I'm going to remove her personal identification. There are a couple things I would like to note from reading this response:
1) It doesn't appear that there have been ANY exemptions made officially for small businesses (unfortunately, not even for one-of-a-kind).
2) Here is something technically "in writing" but yet again there is that disclaimer statement saying that unless otherwise stated the views and opinions are basically those of the author's and not of the CPSC's.
3) It is so just feels like we are "stuck" without a solution until Congress finally agrees to meet on this. From some other things I have read, though, Congress really doesn't want to deal with it--they keep saying "it's up to the CPSC." You can see how little it is really up to the CPSC.

The reply from CPSC is above, and the original contact letter is below.

From: Ombudsman, S. B. [mailto:SBO@...]
Sent: Wednesday, December 31, 2008 3:10 PM
Cc: Ombudsman, S. B.
Subject: RE:

Dear [name removed],

The CPSC has heard from many small businesses (and large ones, too) about the impact the CPSIA may have. Our staff has been trying to identify where the Act gives us flexibility and where it does not and the truth is, there are many provisions that small businesses such as yours care about where we do not have flexibility – the Act simply rules it out. That said, where the agency can be flexible, it is looking for formal public input on how to proceed and you can find those requests for comment at this web site:

There has been some public discussion outside this agency about the possibility of Congress making technical amendments to the Act to provide relief for businesses like yours. I can’t predict the chances of that happening. Our Chairman has stated that the agency would be very willing to work with Congress if it goes that route.

In the meantime, many questions have been addressed in our FAQ section on the web site: You might want to give that a try. Please continue to check our website for Information on the CPSIA ( as it is updated regularly. You can also sign up here (

to receive email updates of our new website postings.

Because Congress wrote very, very short deadlines into the Act, CPSC has been deluged with questions about how the law will be implemented. Given the huge number of questions coming in, individual substantive replies are very difficult to do (the entire agency is only a little over 450 people and there is a ton of work to do). As a result, we add new FAQs as new questions crop up (and many questions are duplicative, as you can imagine).

I guess it would sound hollow for me to suggest that we share your frustration – It’s your business and nobody is going to worry about it like you. But I can do this… I can tell you that CPSC staff is very, very aware of the issues you are facing and that we are using the limited authority we have to try to find solutions as quickly as we can.

Your input is important to us.

Very best regards,


Patricia Bittner
Small Business Ombudsman
Office of International Programs and Intergovernmental Affairs
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
4330 East West Highway
Bethesda, Maryland 20814
Phone: 301-504-7263
Fax: 301-504-0137
email: pbittner@...
“Unless otherwise stated, any views or opinions expressed in this e-mail (and any attachments) are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.”

Sent: Monday, December 15, 2008 3:25 PM
To: Ombudsman, S. B.

CPSIA Legislation - AKA National Bankruptcy Day How is this regulation going to encompass the "at home crafter"? I love crafting, knitting, sewing, quilting. People see the items I make, and often offer to pay me to make something for them. Usually hats or socks made from wool from a local yarn shop in Lewisburg. Will she have to get her wool tested? Will I have to get my hats tested? What about the Mennonite and Amish sewers? What about yard sales? Who is affected? What are the regulations? I cannot believe that in the 21st century I could go to jail for selling a scarf I hand knitted. What about gift giving of handmade items, if there is no label or certificate number then is the item "illegal". I simply cannot wrap my brain around this. I agree with regulation but this is really over doing it a bit - or someone simply didn't think things through all the way.

[signature removed]


  1. Stephanie. I just don't even know what to say. I feel like crying when I read these types of things- what is happening to our country?

    It seems that they've attempted to keep individuals from producing (which, of course, leads to personal freedom and the means to be self sufficient) yet that didn't work- the will of people to create, to do, held strong. So now they have to take away our ability to create.

    I wonder what would happen if crafters everywhere refused to comply? How quickly would county and city jails be filled with women and men who were honest, good people? Would that get the medias attention? too bad most of us are Christians first and cannot protest because we are home, caring for our family as we should be.

  2. And so it begins. Pretty soon we'll have only one place to shop and we'll be spending an arm and a leg for a loaf of bread or a pair of pants. Pardon me for being fatalistic, but this is what happens when there's an incredible amount of government control. It's a sad time to live.

  3. a bit of good news? hope, at least- they released a decision on thrift stores and said they did not have to have items tested if they were used- but could not sell used items that have been recalled (duh)

    also, my aunt is a United States Attorney and I sent her an email about all this- she has to answer in general terms- but she said with it being a federal law, it is not something the local police would deal with, they aren't going to come knocking on your door for making diapers.

    She also said it is a prosecutors decision if they want to go after anyone for this- and also said that they will fix this law. it seems many laws are written that would be devastating, the prosecutors point this out and congress fixes them.

    she ended her email with this, (she's a bit cheeky, can ya tell?)

    "It’s a federal law, so it would be the US Attorney’s Offices bringing any charges. Probably not high on the priority list….Colombian drug dealers, child pornographers, bank robbers, crafters. "

    :) I'm taking that as a good sign.


    More info I've found that's helped me more understand this junk.