In 2008, Congress passed Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA), which regulates lead and certain chemicals in toys. Never mind the fact that the trace levels are too low to pose a health risk, this draconian law is putting small businesses out of commission and forcing charities to toss old books, toys, and other items.
Small businesses and others who have been fighting this crazy law since its inception, have been given a hand by one of the CPSC’s commissioners who recently published an excellent piece in the Wall Street Journal on why Congress needs to step up to the plate and fix the mess created by this act. Commissioner Ann Northup also calls colleagues at the CPSC to the plate for making things worse than necessary:
“For the past several months, American businesses have been caught in the middle of a classic standoff between the federal commissioners in the majority, who argue that the statute ties their hands, and members of Congress, who claim they wrote flexibility into the law and blame the commission for any harsh consequences. Although the commission steadfastly refused to reach out to Congress to seek clarifications to the law, Congress has now reached out to us—asking the agency last week for a list of recommendations to amend the statute.
Thankfully the commission responded, in part, by agreeing to extend the stay on testing and certification for lead content. This window gives Congress time to consider such common-sense changes …”
CPSC commissions now can stop passing the buck. Let’s see if more than one commissioner is willing to do the right thing.
Image credit: Steve Webel’s photostream on flickr.