CPSIA chronicles, April 9

Posting may be slower here over the next few days because of the holiday (and comments-moderation may be erratic at best, for which apologies in advance). If you’d like to catch up with CPSIA reading, though, there’s plenty of it:

  • Excellent reporting in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel last weekend, based on interviews with local people affected by the law, including a maker of kids’ clothing, a doll maker (more), and so forth. Virtually all of them contribute a striking fact, a memorable quote, or both: “Mark Kohlenberg, owner of the Umi children’s shoe company in Grafton, estimates that the required testing will cost his company $200,000 a year. … ‘This law was written one night in Washington when everyone was drunk,’ said a frustrated Peter Reynolds of the Little Toy Co. in Germantown. ‘It’s impossible to read and impossible to enforce.'”
  • Before moving on from the state of Wisconsin, let Valerie Jacobsen’s comment be recorded: “Canvassed Janesville, Wisconsin thrift stores March 31. In an entire city of population 60,000 there was one piece of used clothing for a baby of six months or less”. (Further: ShopFloor).
  • A report in the Northfield, Minn. paper on the vintage-kids’-books situation contains a line almost too depressing to pass along: “Congressman John Kline responded and said efforts are underway to change the law, but with the focus on larger budget issues he admitted it could be years [emphasis added] before this gets another look.” More: Deputy Headmistress.
  • “The Myth of Good Intentions” [James Wilson, DownsizeDC]
  • “$1,500 to test one clutch ball that retails for $16.50”: a letter to President Obama [Jill Chuckas of Handmade Toy Alliance at Change.org]
  • Rick Woldenberg, running his family’s educational-toy company, remembers himself as the most apolitical person you would want to meet. How’d he turn into a nonstop organizer of the reform effort? [Story of My Life]
  • “When I first heard about CPSIA I actually cried. I didn’t see how they could pass something so stupid.” [11-year-old Lizi, at AmendTheCPSIA.com]
  • To grasp the immense scale of Congress’s blunder with this law, “follow a blog like Overlawyered“. Thanks! [Hugh Hewitt, The Examiner; and more, including radio questioning of Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), and John Ensign (R-Nev.)]

Formidable when united
Public domain image from Walter Crane, Baby’s Own Aesop (1887), courtesy Children’s Library.


  • Congressman Kline, there is a quick way to fix this law: repeal it! Revisit it in a couple of years when Congress has the time to do it right.

    This law is doing far more damage than good. It’s not going to get better with age – it’s just going to do more damage. The sooner it is repealed the less damage it will do.

  • Congressman John Kline responded and said efforts are underway to change the law, but with the focus on larger budget issues he admitted it could be years before this gets another look.

    Congressman Kline and many other congressmen voted for this law of such consequence without thinking or reading. Possibly their priority is to wait a few years. The public will have the opportunity in 18 months to evaluate Congressman Kline by election.

    How many other things is Kline fouling up? Given our current congress, probably quite a bit.

  • Problems with lead regulations have been with us for some time. Back in 2003 I met a school maintenance guy who replaced all of the plumbing in his school to get rid of the lead in the water. There was no lead in the water entering the school. He still had a lead reading after his work because some lead was needed in the faucets. Replacing lead pipes might be needed, but replacing soldered joints is fanatical.

    The impact of CPSIA on various activities is bad enough, but the HUGH BIG problem is with the unscientific nature of the regulations of of lead and phthalates.

  • If anyone happens to have a connections with the American Academy of Pediatrics, to back up that the regulation of lead and phthalates is unscientific then we have it in the bag. I was advised that we need support from the Consumer Union and AAP to be heard by the Dems on this issue.

    Both groups should be pro-bike and pro-horseback riding (saddles for kids are also banned because they are too expensive or impossible to test do to the cost and the batch size) and if we can get Congress to legislate that the CPSC has the power to do risk assessment most of the safe products can be cleared.

  • Some years ago our local dentists asked for fluoridation of our water. Of course there was a crazy lady who knew of research in the UK that showed fluoridation to be harmful. I was impressed by the dentists because fluoridation actually reduces demand for their services.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics have a PR stake in seeming to reduce harm to children – the Senator Patty Murray problem. They did speak out against the autism-from-vaccines theory. It took them a horribly long time (March 2008), and they still want autism screening for infants.

    All of our professional societies have an obligation to defend Science from hucksters and hysteria. They have failed – big time.

    I plead that somebody put together a letter to The American Academy of Pediatrics. I suggest stressing the trade off between lead and affordable winter clothing for poor children.

  • “I was not surprised to find a whole lot of nice, dedicated people, the sort of people you’d want to be making products for your children to use.”

    I wonder how many other parents see these “nice, dedicated people” rally in favor of not trying to keep toxic stuff out of their products and think “I don’t want my children to use their products”…