Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act SUCKS

Last night, Channel 6 (Fox News/Milwaukee) ran a short item about the CPSIA. It didn't even scratch the surface of the impact this bill will have, but they did find a used-toys retailer who fretted a bit.

Why didn't it even "scratch the surface"? Let us count the ways.

Barbed with penalties that include felony prison time and fines of $100,000, the law goes into effect in stages; one key deadline is Feb. 10, when it becomes unlawful to ship goods for sale that have not been tested. Eventually, new kids' goods will all have to be subjected to more stringent "third-party" testing, and it will be unlawful to give away untested inventory even for free

we're not just talking about toys here. With few exceptions, the law covers all products intended primarily for children under 12. That includes clothing, fabric and textile goods of all kinds: hats, shoes, diapers, hair bands, sports pennants, Scouting patches, local school-logo gear and so on.

And paper goods: books, flash cards, board games, baseball cards, kits for home schoolers, party supplies and the like. And sporting equipment, outdoor gear, bikes, backpacks and telescopes. And furnishings for kids' rooms.

And videogame cartridges and audio books. And specialized assistive and therapeutic gear used by disabled and autistic kids

Think that it just covers new toys, clothing, diapers, board games, and furniture?

Wrong-o, naivete-breath.

...Contrary to some reports, thrift and secondhand stores are not exempt from the law. Although (unlike creators of new goods) they aren't obliged to test the items they stock, they are exposed to liability and fines if any goods on their shelves (or a component button, bolt, binding, etc.) are found to test above the (very low) thresholds being phased in.

Nor does it get them off the hook to say an older product's noncompliance with the new standards wasn't something they knew or should have known about

Pretty much puts Goodwill, Salvation Army, and St Vincent dePaul out of business.

Oh, by the way: your library's costs are about to skyrocket.

And even worse: Since the law does not exempt books, children's' sections at libraries and bookstores will, at minimum, face price hikes on newly acquired titles and, at worse, may have to rethink older holdings

Cancel the Ethnic-Fests at Milwaukee's lakefront:

A traditional attraction on the heritage festival circuit is the kids' dance or performance troupe in ethnic, pioneer or frontier garb, often handcrafted with the sort of ornate detail (beads, pendants, lace inserts, etc.) that will not be practical to test.

The same goes for Native American kids' cherished
moccasins, buckskins and powwow gear.

There ARE beneficiaries: the Big Boys of the toys and clothing industries such as Hasbro, Mattel, (etc.)

There are 300 million who will pay for it.

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