CPSIA chronicles, March 2

by Walter Olson on March 2, 2009

Reading from the weekend:

  • At the American Spectator, Quin Hillyer says his co-thinkers “need to really get up newcriterionin arms about” changing the law, and has kind words for a certain website that is “the single best place to track all its devastation”. At The New Criterion, Roger Kimball finds that the threat to vintage children’s books provides a good instance of the dangers of “safety”. And commentator Hugh Hewitt is back with another column, “The Congress Should Fix CPSIA Now“.
  • Numerous disparaging things have been said of the “mommy bloggers” who’ve done so much to raise alarms about this law. Because, as one of Deputy Headmistress’s commenters points out, it’s already been decided that this law is needed to “protect the children”, and it’s not as if mere mothers might have anything special to contribute about that.
  • Plenty of continuing coverage out there on the minibike/ATV debacle, including Brian O’Neill, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (office of local Congressman Mike Doyle, D-Pa., says most members think, dubiously, that ban “can be fixed without new legislation”); Lebanon, Pa. (“Ridiculous… It’s closed an entire market for us”), Waterbury, Ct. (“The velocipedesadgovernment does stupid things sometimes without thinking”), and, slightly less recent, Atlantic City, N.J. (“I would’ve had three sales this weekend, so they stomped us”). Some background: Off-Road (agency guidance in mid-February told dealers to get youth models “off their showfloors and back into holding areas”); Motorcycle USA (“With right-size models being unavailable to families, we may see more kids out on adult ATVs and we know that this leads to crashes”). To which illustrator Meredith Dillman on Twitter adds: “Just wait until someone gets hurt riding a broken bike they couldn’t get replacement parts for.”
  • One result of CPSIA is that a much wider range of goods are apt to be subject to recalls, but not to worry, because the CPSC recall process is so easy and straightforward.

{ 3 comments }

1 Leslee 03.02.09 at 11:22 am

Thank you for these regular roundups on CPSIA. Your blog has become my first stop each day. It’s good to see that the stay on testing did not cause everyone to lose interest in the ongoing problems with this law!

2 rxc 03.02.09 at 11:47 am

I really like the idea of sending samples of stuff that is banned under the CPSIA to the Congresspersons who are responsible for this. Maybe if Henry Waxman started to be deluged by the sort of stuff he was responsible for banning, he might re-consider his position.

BTW, what is being done about all the sports equipment that kids use, such as baseballs, footballs, bats, etc? Is this stuff also supposed to be certified? And what about all the school supplies, such as paper and pencils and notebooks? I have heard about the problems with pens, but are all Crayolas also tested?

And finally, what about the Kids Pages that lots of newspapers like the WashPost have – do they have certificates for each batch of paper and ink and the final edition of these pages that is sent out to be read by the children? (I don’t know whether the Times has such a page, but if it does, I would think it would make a dandy test case for a class-action suit.)

3 Walter Olson 03.02.09 at 12:10 pm

I think steps that might smack of harassment, or would create burdens for, say, the legitimate security operations involved in screening packages addressed to Congress, are unwise. In addition, such a campaign would be most unlikely to produce “photo opportunities” that would embarrass a targeted Representative at his offices at Washington.

Such proposals also assume that the targeted Congressman somehow doesn’t understand what’s going on with CPSIA or doesn’t appreciate the depth of anger. No doubt that’s true of some members of Congress, but when it comes to the key backers, I think a better bet is that they are quite aware of what is going on, but intend to ride out the storm and ignore the outcry the better to service the pro-CPSIA constituencies that are important to their political base.

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