CPSIA Update: Jobs Being Destroyed, Congress Looks Away

The Washington Times editorializes on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, starting with undeniable facts: The law has forced good, safe businesses to close. Jobs are being destroyed. Congress is responsible.

From “Lead in the Head“:

On June 22, Baby Sprouts Naturals went out of business. Congress killed it. Baby Sprouts Naturals is a small company making what it calls “natural, non-toxic baby products” such as “organic apparel,” toys and the like. None of the company’s products contains lead. But an anti-lead law Congress passed in 2008, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), has snared even this leadless company in its trap.

Baby Sprouts Naturals is far from alone. Horror stories abound about small and large businesses, and, indeed, entire industries, closed or hobbled because of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. The law sets new, absurdly stringent limits on how much lead any children’s product can contain. It requires strict testing and labeling of all products intended for children and makes both manufacturers and retailers responsible for proving that such testing has taken place. It allows all 50 state attorneys general to take “enforcement” actions related to these issues and to hire outside counsel to do the legal work. It all but invites class-action lawsuits against children’s product suppliers.

This bill passed by huge bipartisan margins, so Congress could correct its errors with a minimum of political damage. In a time when legislative and spending excesses are the norm, voters might even reward cmembers of Congress who said, “We made a mistake. In effort to improve product safety and protect children, we wrote a law that went too far. We’ve recognized that the public spoken and now we will fix the errors.”

(There’s a counterargument, to be sure: The writers of the CPSIA and its current Congressional defenders are more interested in what the “consumer activist” groups and trial lawyers have to say than those annoying members of the public.)

The Times editorial reports disheartening news. Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) of the House Energy and Commerce Committee — who just last week promised hearings on the CPSIA — has now said the hearings will not take place before September.

How many more Baby Sprouts Naturals have to close before Congress does something?

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