The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports on children’s off-road motorbikes being pulled off the market because of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. The CPSC says, “Our hands are tied.” Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), a sponsor, says, “No they’re not.” Seems beside the point.
“Our hands are tied,” said Joseph Martyak, acting director of public affairs for the safety commission. “The agency can only [exempt] if the product will not result in the absorption of ‘any’ lead in the human body. … That is the crux.”
The commission says the law’s limits are so tight that even tiny amounts of lead in pre-1985 children’s books and in metal stems on bicycle tires can leave enough of a trace on children’s fingers to violate the new standards.
What’s more, agency officials say they told Congress they would have to interpret the law this way. But Congress passed it anyway.
The bill’s sponsors, including Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, are equally adamant that such an absolute interpretation was not what they intended in the 2008 Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.
“Their hands are not tied,” Klobuchar said. “We gave the commission the power to implement common-sense rules. Congress never intended it to be interpreted this way.
“We never thought children were going to be sucking on brake handles.”
If lawmakers think the statute’s language is being misinterpreted, then it is in their power to CHANGE the language. Let’s have hearings, a new bill, legislation that exempts the products that need to be exempted and stops the destruction of children’s clothes, children’s books, jewelry and other products.
Hat tip to Hugh Hewitt, lawyer and talk show host, who comments in “More CPSIA Insanity“:
Too bad for manufacturers, retailers and consumers that the Congress did –surprise– a lousy job in drafting the draconian law. Unfortunately, the law also empowers plaintiffs’ lawyers to sue non-compliant companies, so Senator Klobuchar’s protestations of innocence do nothing for those thousands of businesses seeing hundreds of millions of dollars of superb product go to waste.
No, discarding 500 once-loved stuffed animals doesn’t really amount to much of a story amid scenes of billion-dollar disruptions caused by this law elsewhere around the country. But if you’re one of the people who run the Second Fling consignment shop in Goldsboro, N.C., it might still seem kind of sad.