CPSIA chronicles, September 20

by Walter Olson on September 20, 2009

  • Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Tex.) doesn’t think Rep. Waxman’s pretend hearing Sept. 10 was enough, and writes a letter to Reps. Waxman and Rush (PDF courtesy Motorcycle Industry Council) explaining why a real hearing is needed (including as an addendum my WSJ piece from last Monday).
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  • Speaking of CPSIA author Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), he’s praised the new rhinestone ban [Woldenberg]
  • At the Wall Street Journal, a letter to the editor regarding my op-ed of last week generally agrees with its thrust but claims that I “[err] when assigning blame to consumer groups” among others for the enactment. I find this charge baffling, since groups like Public Citizen, PIRG and the Consumer Federation of America 1) were routinely cited in the press during the bill’s run-up to enactment as key advocates of its more extreme provisions, 2) have loudly claimed credit for enacting those provisions and the overall bill ever since, 3) have been routinely cited this year in the press as key opponents of any effort to revisit the law in Congress. Why strive to excuse them from a responsibility that they gladly shoulder? Carter Wood at ShopFloor also notes that labor unions unwisely cheered on their purported consumer-group allies, a stance one hopes they are rethinking in light of the statute’s actual effects on American employers and jobs.
  • BoardGameGeek had a discussion of the law again this summer, mostly focusing on the tracking label rules and the burden they pose to makers of new games, but also noting the thrift/reseller effects (earlier). Meanwhile, Handmade Toy Alliance activist Dan Marshall notes on Twitter, “Just spoke with guy who invented a board game about dinosaurs. He’s paying $2400 to get it tested 4 #CPSIA and is mad as hell about Mattel.”
  • So let’s all panic now: NPR reports minute amounts of lead alloy in a Disney-branded zipper.
  • Before CPSIA came along, Illinois lawmakers enacted their own lead law which, stunt-like, sets an even lower permissible lead level often flunked by common substances such as ordinary garden dirt, according to Rick Woldenberg (earlier on dirt, and related on rocks). More: Wacky Hermit.
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PUBLIC DOMAIN IMAGES from Ethel Everett, illustrator, Nursery Rhymes (1900), courtesy ChildrensLibrary.org.

{ 4 comments }

1 Amy Alkon 09.21.09 at 12:46 am

Handmade Toy Alliance activist Dan Marshall notes on Twitter, “Just spoke with guy who invented a board game about dinosaurs. He’s paying $2400 to get it tested 4 #CPSIA and is mad as hell about Mattel.”

As I may have posted here before, my “green”/Waldorf parent neighbor who scolds me for eating bacon with nitrites and is otherwise hippie/organic/grow-your-own-veggies, etc., was an architect until she became a stay-at-home mom. To make up for the income she and her husband lost when she quit work to stay home with their two young kids, she designed four board games — out of organic cotton — the kind that comes from cotton plants grown by hippies somewhere in America…not the kind of cotton they dig out of lead mines.

Thanks to this idiotic law, she can’t afford to spend thousands testing each, so they’re going without that income, they’ve lost a good bit of their investment, and in this economy. Nice, huh?

2 Soronel Haetir 09.21.09 at 3:28 pm

As for the union/advocate alliance, why would the unions care if tiny businesses go under? Businesses large enough to be attractive to labor organizers are big enough to deal with the new requirements.

3 William Nuesslein 09.22.09 at 10:08 am

Soronel Haetir may be right but I would bet against it. Companies large enough to bear the burden of the law seem to be in China.

If Unions were interested in jobs, they would fight the lead nuts to paint the Pulaski Skyway.

4 Emma Blanco 10.05.09 at 1:25 am

Regarding CPSIA, one thing I haven’t figured out is, can charity stores still GIVE AWAY items without penalty? Is CPSIA just overseeing products that are SOLD, or are they eventually going to come and look in everyone’s closets to see what dangers may be lurking there? Last week, my town printed an article stating that the local Salvation Army store had been throwing away 80% of their children-item donations….THROWING AWAY!! Wouldn’t they be better off just giving this stuff to the needy? Or would they still be persecuted ~ oops, I mean prosecuted, even if no money changed hands? I was trying to think of a way resale shops could get around the CPSIA’s overbearing stipulations….what if they charged a membership fee for people to come in and swap items? Would this work? I hope small retailers can think of ways to outfox the foxes of the CPSIA.

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