There’s been some news lately about an incredibly important piece of bi-partisan legislation that passed last year to repair damage caused by a weak and underfunded Consumer Product Safety Commission (one result of which was the failure to prevent lead in toys, children’s jewelry, lunch boxes, bibs, cribs and so on.)
The Consumer Products Safety Act essentially eliminates lead and toxic phthalates (plastic softeners) in children’s products; ensures that these products meet rigorous standards and testing; opened a database of toy dangers and made recalled toys easier to trace; enhanced enforcement by the CPSC and state Attorneys General; and increased protection for whistleblowers, who alert authorities to unsafe products.
Business groups have always hated this law. But now, they are in full hyperbolic rage because of the difficulty some small business are having complying right away. Consider the recent Forbes magazine piece called “Scrap The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act” by a Manhattan Institute fellow, who also called it “one of the worst pieces of legislation I’ve seen in many a year.”
Gee, let’s see, a bill that makes sure children are no longer lead poisoned from chewing their Mattel toys, that was so thoroughly studied and dissected that it took months to write, was agreed to by both parties in Congress, and then passed the Senate 89-3, the House 424-1, and signed by President Bush, of all people – oh, the horror.
Even so, members of both parties in Congress recently decided to help out some of these small business with an extremely reasoned approach, offering specific guidance about the implementation of the new law to help minimize costs, while providing maximum protection to America’s kids. Rather than thanking Congress, business groups have continued having temper tantrums over this law.
On Tuesday, the newly minted President Obama said in his inaugural address, “the time has come set aside childish things.” Hey, right-wing business groups, he wasn’t talking about lead poisoned 4-year-olds who lobbied for the CPSIA. He was talking about you. Take your thumbs out of your mouths, grow up, and accept that the country needed to stop children from dying or being made sick from toxic toys.
PS--To read a response to the outpouring of interest we've received from this post, click here.