CPSIA Update: Across the Nation, Dislocation

By February 9, 2009Economy, Regulations

More at Overlawyered.com on the coming (tomorrow!) imposition of new bans and testing requirements for lead and phthalate contents in children’s products, as Walter Olson finds report after report in the 50 states about small business operators and retailers facing the great unknown. And in the unknown, lies liability. Olson closes his post, “CPSIA: fifty stars and an asterisk,” with commentary about Washington, D.C.

District of Columbia: Almost forgot Washington, D.C.! Well, in Washington, D.C., it’s easy to get them to pay attention to problems like these. For example, less than a month ago, the offices of Reps. Henry Waxman and Bobby Rush were instructing colleagues that if they get calls from constituents “who believe they may be adversely impacted by the new law,” it was because the constituents had fallen victim to “confusion” and “inaccurate reporting”. The most important advocacy group behind the law, the implacable Public Citizen, has launched a new campaign to defend it from critics; it was PC’s David Arkush who in December notoriously assailed (scroll to #1) “hysteria” about the law on the part of crafters and small businesses, broadly hinting that they were serving as dupes and stooges of Big Toy interests — perish the thought that they might have figured the issue out on their own! Trial-lawyer-defense groups like the misnamed Center for Justice and Democracy (along with their friends) chimed in with the thought that critics of the law needed to “grow up” (no, don’t bother commenting). CPSC Commissioner Thomas Moore, hewing to a similar line, blames the ongoing ruckus on “orchestrated campaigns to undermine the Act” that “are sowing the seeds of confusion that are upsetting so many small businesses.” Lobbyists and trade associations for mass-production importers and merchandisers are eager to prove their cooperation with the powers that be: “We were early proponents of mandatory laws to require toy testing,” said a Toy Industry Association spokesman the other day.

Washington, D.C. always does so well at listening to the rest of the country.

We’re not sure what’s so objectionable about expressing a willingness, even an eagerness, to follow the law. In this case, the trouble is the law and enforcement are unknowable. And dumb.

Just looked at the link to “along with their friends.” Delightful: “Rich mommies weep over the potential loss of designer baby clothes; I couldn’t care less

And here are the latest stories we spot…

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