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Small Business Toymakers May Be Hurt By New Law

Small business toymakers are having a hard time with new safety legislation that requires extensive testing of toys.

Congress passed the laws after a rash of tainted toys manufactured by large toy companies in China forced recalls of over 45 million toys.

The law passed is called the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. It was passed in August 2008 and sets out mandatory safety standards for products used by children under the age of 12, such as levels of lead in toys. It also requires toy manufacturers to test their toys in order to ensure that they are safe.

Small toymakers argue that the laws are simply not feasible for them. The New York Times reports that the legislation is made with big toymakers in mind and that big toymakers have more money to stay compliant.

William John Woods who owns a company called Ogunquit Wooden Toy says that the amount of money he would need to spend in order to test his toys would cost too much for his business:

"'This is absurd,' said Mr. Woods, whose toys are made of maple, walnut and cherry and finished with walnut oil and beeswax from a local apiary. He estimates it would cost him $30,000 -- a figure he calculated from having to pay $400 in required tests for each of the 80 or so different items he produces -- to show that they are not toxic.

'I use beeswax,' Mr. Woods said. 'The law was targeted at large toymakers using lead. There was no exclusion for benign products.'"

The small business owners have joined together to protest the undue hardship and burden that the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act places on them.

The Handmade Toy Alliance did a march in Washington D.C. last April and has been consistently lobbying against the new legislation.

"The law is flawed," said Rob Wilson, a director of the Handmade Toy Alliance. "It reflects decision-making that in a sane world makes no sense."

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act will go into effect this February.

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