CPSIA Update: Brass Ackwards

By November 7, 2009Regulations

The Wall Street Journal today editorializes on yet another in the series of absurd and jobs-killing decisions the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act has forced upon the Consumer Product Safety Commission. From “Congress’ Brass Knuckles“:

The wheels on the bus won’t go ’round and ’round in many playrooms this year if the Consumer Product Safety Commission has its way. On Wednesday, the Commission voted against a petition to exempt small pieces of brass used in the wheels on toy cars, tractors and buses from draconian lead standards. The fiasco is one more sign that Congress must address the chaos created by its 2008 law regulating lead in toys.

Lead is a typical component of brass but poses minuscule risk to children through toys. As the CPSC’s own staff remarked, “the estimated exposure to lead from children’s contact with the die-cast toys would have little impact on the blood lead level.” But no matter, the language of the law says the Commission can’t consider risk in granting exclusions. Any potential absorption of lead at all is grounds for a ban, despite its presence in other common brass fixtures kids get their hands on regularly, like doorknobs and keys.

This zero tolerance for lead — and reality — is indeed included in the CPSIA law, which is why the law must be changed.

The National Association of Manufacturers-led CPSC Coalition sent a letter from 41 different trade associations to Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) in October asking for a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the CPSIA. (Copy here.) It’s long past time for the Senate to hear from people and businesses who have been laid low by the CPSIA’s brass knuckle approach.

UPDATE: More from Walter Olson at Overlawyered.com, “CPSIA’s ban on brass.”

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