I don't know if you good people in the USA are aware of this, and I apologise in advance if its old news to you! I've just seen this on another forum and thought of you all here. If it's been done before, then mods please feel free to delete this post- I'm normally hanging around the ATC boards
This is copied and pasted from the Handmade Toy Alliance website:
In 2007, large toy manufacturers who outsource their production to China and other developing countries violated the public's trust. They were selling toys with dangerously high lead content, toys with unsafe small part, toys with improperly secured and easily swallowed small magnets, and toys made from chemicals that made kids sick. Almost every problem toy in 2007 was made in China.
The United States Congress rightly recognized that the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) lacked the authority and staffing to prevent dangerous toys from being imported into the US. So, they passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in August, 2008. Among other things, the CPSIA bans lead and phthalates in toys, mandates third-party testing and certification for all toys and requires toy makers to permanently label each toy with a date and batch number.
All of these changes will be fairly easy for large, multinational toy manufacturers to comply with. Large manufacturers who make thousands of units of each toy have very little incremental cost to pay for testing and update their molds to include batch labels.
For small American, Canadian, and European toymakers, however, the costs of mandatory testing will likely drive them out of business.
* A toymaker, for example, who makes wooden cars in his garage in Maine to supplement his income cannot afford the $4,000 fee per toy that testing labs are charging to assure compliance with the CPSIA.
* A work at home mom in Minnesota who makes dolls to sell at craft fairs must choose either to violate the law or cease operations.
* A small toy retailer in Vermont who imports wooden toys from Europe, which has long had stringent toy safety standards, must now pay for testing on every toy they import.
* And even the handful of larger toy makers who still employ workers in the United States face increased costs to comply with the CPSIA, even though American-made toys had nothing to do with the toy safety problems of 2007.
Their website : http://www.handmadetoyalliance.org/Home
It will affect everyone from the 10th February next year- anyone who makes toys to sell that might be bought in the US even!
They have an online petition here http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/handmadetoys/
Please take the time to read and sign and pass on the message if you are able!