CPSIA Update: Waxman, Infants, Accountability

By July 7, 2009Regulations

More on Chairman Henry Waxman’s appearance today on the Diane Rehm Show and the discussion of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (see earlier post for transcript):

In responding to a question from a manufacturer of natural toys, Rep. Waxman said this:

[That] law wanted to protect infants from toys that are made with chemicals that can do them neurological damage. But the people running the Consumer Product Safety Commission are enforcing it in a way that to me doesn’t make sense. And we’re hoping that with the new people taking control of the agency will have a more thoughtful regulation and enforcement, and if not, we’re going to have to regulate.

The bill applies to products made for children 12 and under. In fact, in negotiations with the Senate conferees on H.R. 4040 last year, it was the House of Representatives that insisted on the 12-year standard. The Senate preferred 7 years of age.

So it’s just hard to swallow the claim that the bill was only meant to protect infants.

And just from dangerous toys? The CPSIA was intended to deal only toys? That’s just not a credible claim.

The National Association of Manufacturers represents many, many manufacturers of non-toy products who have been severely affected by the law. Indeed, here are the groups and industries that have formally petitioned for relief from the law’s onerous implementation:

  • Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association
  • Fashion Jewelry Trade Association
  • Manufacturing Jewelers and Suppliers of America
  • Footwear Distributions and Retailers of America
  • National Retail Federation
  • United Dance Merchants of America
  • Jim Boltz Cycle Barn Motorsports Group
  • Bicycle Product Suppliers Association
  • Motorcycle Industry Council
  • Specialty Vehicle Institute of America
  • Polaris Industries
  • American Suzuki Motor Corporate
  • Arctic Cat
  • Kawasaki Motor Corp.
  • American Honda Motor Corp.
  • Yamaha Motor Corp.

It’s a far-reaching, damaging law. Blaming the CPSC for the consequences of its implementation looks like an effort to escape accountability for writing bad law.

The agreement to hold hearings is a good step toward accepting some of the responsibility and moving toward doing what only Congress can do: Fix the law.

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