Friday, January 16, 2009

I'm a mommy blogger!

Yesterday I came upon some raw footage of Julie Vallese, from the CPSC. Julie Vallese is resigning from the CPSC, however on her way out the door, she’s managed to give one bang up interview about the CPSIA

Here are a few of the things that really stood out to me about this interview. First of all, it was focused on resale and consignment shops. Which is great, except that they’ve already released an official memo on resale and consignment shops. So, this interview gives us no new information. You can see that memo here:

From this interview there are a couple new phrases to be entered into our language when talking about the CPSIA. The first one I’d like to discuss is “level of confidence”. I first introduced the memo above in my previous blog post from January 9, 2009.

So when asked to clarify this memo a bit, Julie Vallese talked about a reseller having a “level of confidence” in their product. And that while this was “not defined”, she suggested three possible ways to gain this “level of confidence”:

#1) Look at the product and assess whether or not you feel it might not pass the lead limit
#2) Contact the manufacturer
#3) Screen the product using XRF technology

This brings me to the point I made in my first post about this issue: Since it’s been determined that used goods are still subject to the law but don’t need to be tested, and selling them is basically at the seller’s risk. Why can’t handmade goods be exempted in the same way? The difference with my handmade goods is that I *know* what went into making the item. As the manufacturer, I can have a higher “level of confidence” knowing exactly what is going into my products. I can contact the manufacturers of my supplies and discuss materials and any certifications they have. If that standard is good enough for used goods, it should be good enough for my handcrafted goods. Sellers could still be held accountable and face civil and/or criminal penalties for selling goods that are in violation of the new limits the same way a reseller of used goods is. So, why not extend the testing exemption in this way to those who handcraft items?

I’m not going to address the suggestion of XRF screening at this time because that’s a topic that will warrant a post all it’s own. And that post is coming, I promise. But I do want to make the point that in this video, Julie Vallese was extremely careful to make sure we all knew that XRF was not definitive and could only be used as a “screening tool”. I find this to be indicative of what may come in terms of the suggestion to allow XRF testing replace the third party lab accredited digestive testing that is currently mandated as of August.

The second phrase I’d like to address is “mommy blogger”. If you’re not interested in a short rant, please skip this paragraph. All I can say is, Wow. Just wow. I’m not really sure how much more condescending that phrase could be in the context that it was used. And the notion that we, “mommy bloggers” are responsible for the misinformation regarding this law on the web is more insulting than I can express. Let me tell you who THIS mommy blogger is. I am a former higher education administrator with a Masters degree under my belt. I am a business woman (as long as the CPSIA doesn’t put me out of business), and I am a mother of two small children. I’m smart and I’m discerning of good information and bad information, regardless of the source. My first phone calls about this law were made to the CPSC directly and to my Congressman’s office for some clarification and to gather information. My information gathering resulted in misinformation being given to me by the CPSC. Information that directly contradicts the law as it is written. If there is any misinformation on this blog, you better believe I will address it, apologize, and print a retraction. But I stand by what I’ve written based on my interpretations and the information that I’ve gathered from many sources, including from the CPSC directly.

On a more positive note, I’m meeting with Congressman Dent today! I plan to update you all on how that meeting went as well as address the XRF testing next week. Have a great weekend!


sassypackrat said...

I saw that interview too. She really went out of her way to carefully contradic herself in the safest way possible without giving anyone any real info. Even the interviewer was aggrivated. Glad she's gone, but now what?

Mark Riffey said...


You might find my review of the Vallese interview either amusing, annoying or both.

The review is here.

Glad to see that you are proceeding strategically re: a reaction to CPSIA. Thats a great example to set and I hope others follow your example.