- For the Handmade Toy Alliance, Jill Chuckas responds to the NYT’s ever-so-clueless CPSIA editorial. The Alliance also recently published a Myth vs. Fact sheet. Among the points addressed: “Myth: Violations of the CPSIA this year will not result in penalties.” “Myth: Further clarification is all that is needed.” and “Myth: Products Tested to European Union Standards will Satisfy New US Standards”. And did you know it’s now unlawful to donate to a charity (let alone sell) a children’s item with paint on it, even if you painted it yourself using lead-free paint, if you haven’t put it out for third-party testing?
- It’s my impression that beyond the precincts of the “consumer”/Litigation Lobby groups, the bill’s original sponsors on Capitol Hill, and of course the New York Times, it’s getting harder to find all-out boosters of the law who still maintain there’s nothing wrong with it. On Tuesday, however, the Houston Chronicle did publish a perfectly inane editorial taking this view, the refutation of which is left as an exercise to the reader.
- Deputy Headmistress at Common Room has taken the lead in blogging many angles of the law and her latest must-read examines the legislative history of CPSIA’s enactment, including the roles of Public Citizen, the Consumer Federation of America, PIRG, and Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), as well as business groups like NAM, the latter of which warned against some of the law’s more extreme provisions as placing various advantages into the hands of plaintiff’s lawyers. This makes a good jumping-off point for further research on whether the ongoing CPSIA calamity should truly be regarded as a case of “unintended consequences” and, if so, unintended by whom. One tidbit among many: she says that Travis Plunkett, testifying for the Consumer Federation of America, spoke in favor of rules (not adopted) under which “all product sellers [would] be required to post bonds sufficient to cover the costs of a recall in advance of any ‘potential’ recalls.” Typical New York Times coverage of the day, by the reliably pro-regulation Stephen Labaton, can be found here.
- Tom Pearson, Punditry by the Pint:
I’ve written before how law and regulation can be an insurmountable impediment for the weakest, poorest and most powerless in our society. In this case at least we will partly realize what we’re missing when the great independent thrift and book shops start going under and fewer people make handcrafted clothing and toys for children. Still, we’ll never see what could have been in this small niche of our largely self-created social order. This is how the American dream of hope and opportunity dies, one well-intentioned, but misguided rule at a time.
Life is a messy and wonderful experience. If you try to hermetically seal life, even children’s lives, from risk, you will kill all that messiness and creativity that makes life worth living. Yes, risk can be damaging, painful and even fatal, but, in this case, the cure is worse than the disease.
Another libertarian view from J.D. Tuccille in the Examiner: “In the name of the children, we cut the kids off from their own history.”
- Yesterday (Friday) the Consumer Product Safety Commission published a bundle of letters it received pro and con on proposed exemptions from the lead rules. Plenty of raw material here for CPSIA-watchers (long PDF file);
- Since many people these days visit Overlawyered for the ongoing coverage on this topic, I’ve added a new display on the rightmost sidebar (under the red teddy-bear-as-St.-Sebastian icon) with sub-category tag links for libraries, apparel and needle trades, toys, and so forth. I’ve populated these categories with old posts somewhat in haste, so if you see omitted posts that aren’t tagged with relevant labels, give me a shout.
Public domain image: Grandma’s Graphics, Ruth Mary Hallock.