CPSIA Update: This is Stimulus?

By February 3, 2009Regulations

Quin Hillyer at The Examiner examines the incredible economic waste, disruption of small businesses, and snafubar results of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. From “Unleaded economy could fuel huge job losses“:

Last August, Congress passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which mandates that all products for children ages 12 and under be tested for lead and phthalates (a chemical in many plastics), and that no such products be sold with lead contents higher than 600 parts per million. (Ingested lead, of course, can cause serious health problems, including learning disabilities in children.)

The sales ban applies retroactively, too: Even if the items in question were made 100 years ago, The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has advised that a second-hand store could be subject to lawsuits or even “criminal penalties” for selling them.

Even antique lead soldiers sold as collectibles for display, rather than as play toys, could conceivably trigger punishment.

In the realm of the bizarre, the ban scared Honda into withdrawing all its youth all-terrain vehicles from the American market because the vehicles contain lead alloys. As [Manhattan Institute’s Walter] Olson noted, “the irony, of course, is that of all the imaginable safety hazards posed by the existence of youth motorcycles and ATVs, the danger that kids will eat the darn things must rank at the very bottom.”

The NAM’s Rosario Palmieri is quoted as well, responding to the CPSC’s decision to stay enforcement of the new content standards: “In effect, no burden has been lifted. It was the least helpful way to do this.”

The NAM had called for postponing the implementation of the standards.

Manufacturers raised red flags about many of these problems during the debate last year on the CPSIA, but by and large, the media served as a megaphone for the politicking of consumer groups taking advantage of the China toy scares. Walter Olson of the Manhattan Institute comments on the media’s role in these troubles at Overlawyered.com, “CPSIA and the national press.”

In addition, Olson has been assiduously covering developments.

And this is a good commentary on the activities of the self-described consumer groups at ReformCPSIA, “Don’t Believe the Consumer Groups’ Snow Job.”

Leave a Reply