Self-Styled Consumer Activists Thrilled with CPSC Bill

By July 30, 2008Briefly Legal

Self-appointed consumer activist groups have issued a joint release hailing the final conference report on H.R. 4040, the CPSC litigation and regulation expansion bill. The statement has been posted on the USPIRG website here: “Consumer Groups Urge Final Passage of Product Safety Bill

The talking points are all about toy safety, protecting the children. This obvious political sales job suggests there are many actual provisions in the bill the groups would prefer not to talk about and would rather not be examined in detail. (See this post for some substantive objections.)

And in this political world, you can expect the legislation to pass the House today — it’s on the House’s suspension calendar — go the Senate for a probable vote Friday and be signed into law by the President.

So that ends the debate, right? Oh, sure.

From a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately statement by Andy Igrejas, manager of the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Environmental Health campaign:

“That Congress responded to this health threat in lieu of Federal agencies is yet another illustration of the broken regulatory system. A better approach is to require chemical manufacturers to prove their products are safe before exposing consumers to them. The Kid-Safe Chemical Act, introduced in May by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Representatives Hilda Solis (D-Calif.) and Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) would do just that by overhauling how the EPA handles the 80,000+ chemicals in consumer products. Phthalates in toys are just the tip of the iceberg.”

Thus, with all its other purposes, the CPSC bill is also a stalking horse for the precautionary principle.  Some people just think Europe is better.

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