You may have been hearing about the effect the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) is having on small business.
The Draconian testing requirements (Yeah, it is mighty important to test for lead in clothing or handmade unpainted toys) threaten to close down thousands of small outfits. And, this all happened because Mattel (primarily) imported toys from China with excessive amounts of lead.
Of course, the big toy outfits are all in favor of CPSIA, and one cool benefit for them is wiping out the competition. As always, the regulatory environment favors the bigs—who are most often the reasons why the regs are needed in the first place. Kind of ironic, don't you think?
Some conspiracy buffs even surmise that Mattel and other big toy companies purposely imported the lead-contaminated toys to set this up. Beyond all this, how can consequences so egregious and so obvious be "unintended" in a bill that was read (or should have been read) in draft form by hundreds—if not thousands of people before it became law?
My take is that most of the members of Congress did not read it. The provisions were essentially dictated by wild-eyed consumer "protection" groups to underpaid/overworked and possibly clueless staffers.
Bear in mind that the gigantic National Survey of Children's Health considers dozens of factors to be more important than environmental exposures. In fact, the ONLY question related to the environment has to do with smoking in the home.
As we rapidly approach the time when pediatric cardiology may actually become a significant specialty because of the tremendous growth in childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes, how can we even bother with CPSIA?
The only lead hazard is lead in paint. There is no basis whatsoever for worrying about substrate lead, in terms of morbidity and mortality. As far as phthalates go, there is NO data anywhere showing any injury to any child ever; yet, phthalates are thrown into the mix, retroactive provisions on inventory and all. Thanks, Congress.
Cold comfort that some of the former true believers in the handmade toy business and the American Library Association are finally beginning to see the light. Will that help us stop this thing?