CPSIA chronicles, February 5

by Walter Olson on February 5, 2009

Five days until the law’s effective date, and far more to round up than space allows:

  • Hundreds rally in front of Macy’s in New York’s garment district to protest the law [AP/AM New York; pic, and estimate of crowd at 1,000, at Publisher's Weekly] Plans for Feb. 10 day of protest [Fasanella/Fashion Incubator]
  • Several Senators are reported to have joined as sponsors of Sen. DeMint’s reform bill, which his staff says he wants to offer as an amendment to the stimulus bill (more). More welcome news: Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) calls for hearings on CPSIA [his office].
  • “Using a bazooka to kill a (lead-free) gnat”: the inimitable Prof. Richard Epstein on the law’s high costs and low benefits [Forbes.com]. “Huge job losses” could result unless Congress goes back to drawing board
    [Quin Hillyer, Washington Examiner, and more at American Spectator] More from Iain Murray at National Review “Corner” [here and here] and much coverage from Carter Wood at NAM “ShopFloor” as well.

  • At Crooked Timber, generally a pro-regulation site, John Holbo looks kindly on CPSIA reform — but a guy from PIRG pops right up to defend the measure. Scroll to comments #25 and #28 for good comments by familiar names, and then to Holbo’s own #30 (“I’m increasingly convinced that this is an unusually horrible law.”)
  • Reps. Rush and Waxman, Sens. Rockefeller and Pryor blame the whole mess not on their own offices’ drafting, but on CPSC Commissioner Nancy Nord, who resisted many of the law’s extreme provisions, and they demand her ouster [Little Ida]. CPSC Commissioner Thomas Moore likes the law just fine as is, which may help explain why Waxman et al. didn’t call for his head [same]. And yet another “we’re calling the shots here, but any failures are your fault” letter from Rush, Waxman et al to CPSC [Fashion Incubator]. NPR Marketplace’s coverage tends, with the law’s advocates, to promote the “inept agency” rather than the “insanely drafted law” narrative;
  • A news account in the WSJ attributes last Friday’s stay to “pressure from manufacturers”, with no mention of grass-roots movement at all. Lame. Meanwhile, CNNMoney quotes safetyists and trade associations, but not small producers, leaving readers clueless about costs. USA Today does a better job at presenting all sides.
  • The ultimate acronym? “Congress Passes Stupid Ill-conceived Act” [Three By Sea]
  • Rick Woldenberg and Heartkeeper Common Room have both been incisively taking on and refuting the assertions of the law’s diehard promoters, namely, the groups like PIRG, Public Citizen and Consumers’ Union; check out both sites and scroll through multiple posts. And Kathleen Fasanella’s Fashion Incubator promises to stay on top of activist and protest developments.

Public domain image, Ruth Mary Hallock: Grandma’s Graphics.

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CPSIA: N.Y. Times prints three letters
02.23.09 at 8:25 am

{ 4 comments }

1 Doug 02.05.09 at 2:43 pm

Yet, I met a woman who owns a “toy” train store today and she not only had heard of the law, but she thought it was a good law. After all, there should be no lead in toys. She was not interested in listening to any different sides of the issue of the costs associated with its implementation. Well, she said, costs for testing will go down once everyone has to do it.

2 Benjamin 02.05.09 at 5:32 pm

Maybe the businesses, children’ s libraries, ect., who are effected by this bill should just shut their doors. When no one can buy a single item for a child, then Congress would have no choice but to repeal this stupid law.

3 Dad 02.05.09 at 6:05 pm

Have you noticed the proliferation of advertisements on Google for CPSIA testing and compliance services when you search for CPSIA?

One of the advertisements displays with Chinese characters. A check of ‘whois’ on the domain shows an administrative contact in Beijing.

Perhaps another ‘unintended consequence’ of the CPSIA might be that the least expensive testing will be available in China?

4 Xmas 02.06.09 at 11:09 am

Check out comment #31 at the Crooked Timber post. If it’s really from one of the lab owners, they are saying the cheapest rate for one component’s test is $50. And that’s only for testing one color of paint in a lab in India.

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