Timothy J. Gonzalez | Statesman Journal
Julie Martin Kramer works Wednesday in the
sewing studio in her northeast Salem home.
A federal law set to take effect in February
would subject all items marketed to children
younger than 12 to be tested for thalide and
lead. Martin, who makes clothes for children,
says paying for such testing would put her
out of business
See this story at StatesmanJournal.com for
links to more information about the
Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act
and the Handmade Toy Alliance, which was
formed in response to the law.
Crafters worry about law
STEFANIE KNOWLTON Statesman Journal
December 25, 2008
Salem resident Julie Martin stitches together bright stripes,
prints and solid fabrics for her clothing line ZoZoBugBaby sold
at Salem Saturday Market and online.
Come February, she fears, the whimsical skirts, smocks and
flannel lounge sets will be illegal.
That's when a national children's product-safety law takes
effect that bans phthalates and all but eliminates lead from
It's not that Martin's clothes contain lead or phthalates, a
softener for plastics. But the law requires all manufacturers —
from toy giants such as Mattel to stay-at-home moms — to test
and certify their children's products even if they are toxin-free.
Each test can cost hundreds or sometimes thousands of
dollars per item.
Some argue that the legislation will mean the end of
handmade children's products sold at local markets, specialty
boutiques and online storefronts such as Etsy.com.
"They're kicking our feet out from under us," said Colleen
Walker, coordinator for Salem Saturday Market.
About 10 percent of the market's vendors sell kids' products,
from wooden cars to doll dresses. Almost every town across
the nation has a market like it, she said.
"It sounds like they just weren't thinking," she said.
Salem resident Jory Xavier buys most of her girls' stuff from local crafters as a way to support
the local economy and to feel secure about what she's buying.
"I feel more confident about the safety of those products because I'm either buying from the
person who made it or buying from someone who knows the person."
She worries the new law will take that security away, she said. But she does feel safer about
buying from big retailers now.
It's a false sense of security, said Tony Fuentes, owner of Milagros children's boutique in
The country had lead paint standards in place before the new law, he said, but some
companies still produced toys that exceeded them.
He thinks the trend will continue with the new law. The only difference is that the law will put
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