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CPSIA – Why Do Dems Want to Ban Rhinestones?

Why indeed. The Democrats apparently have it in for rhinestones and are so uptight about this “menace” that they are willing to write an outright ban into the CPSIA, via Mr. Waxman’s new amendment. No more bling for you!

Have we finally entered the land of the looneys?

The Dems’ rallying cry on rhinestones goes way back. On September 10, 2009, Rep. Bobby Rush welcomed Inez Tenenbaum to the one CPSIA hearing since August 2008 by commending her for bravely banning rhinestones.

Let’s think about the basics here:

  • Rhinestones are simple embellishments. They are found in inexpensive jewelry, on clothing and shoes, in craft kits, used in scrapbooking, are decorations on kids’ pageant and athletic costumes, adorn hair bows and barrettes, etc. They are bling.
  • Rhinestones have no history of causing lead poisoning.
  • Rhinestones are even okay to sell under the obnoxious Proposition 65.

Chairman Tenenbaum has conceded in writing that the stones are not dangerous: “Commission staff recognized that most crystal and glass beads do not appear to pose a serious health risk to children . . . .” Of course, CPSC Staff are just scientists and Ph.D.’s, not lawyers writing important laws.

Unfortunately, Tenenbaum recanted her stance in Congressional testimony on September 10, 2009. On September 17, I wrote a letter to Chairman Tenenbaum about her rhinestone testimony . . . but never received a reply. The letter asks her to back up her assertion in testimony that swallowing rhinestones presents a lead poisoning risk. This is an unsupportable contention and perhaps this is why my letter was never accorded a response. In particular, I made the following point about the literal “danger” of rhinestones:

“[T]he Exponent study submitted [by the FJTA] on February 2 indicates that the FDA has determined that six micro-grams of lead per day is required to produce a one micro-gram of lead per deciliter change in blood lead levels in children six years old or younger. Thus, to produce such a change in blood lead levels from jewels would require sustained daily ingestion of 12 grams of stones (roughly 4,000 stones or hundreds of pieces of jewelry) or mouthing of 42 grams of stones (roughly 14,000 stones or more than 1,000 pieces of jewelry). Clearly, this is unlikely to occur, particularly accidentally.” [Emphasis added]

As noted, Tenenbaum never answered this letter.

[See also my posts of July 21, July 21 (no. 2), September 10 and September 12.]

Of course, the natural ally of the Dems, the consumer groups, bang the drum mindlessly for banning rhinestones, too. In my September 20 post, I recounted the attack of Nancy Cowles on the rhinestones “menace”. Here is Ms. Cowles’ suggestion for those who value their bling:

“In an interview with BNA, Nancy Cowles, executive director of Kids in Danger, praised the commission’s July decision on fashion jewelry accessories. Cowles told BNA that lead is a severe toxin with no safe level. She added that while more common sense could be applied to determining which products are hazardous, consumers overall do not want products containing lead. ‘People will come up with other ways to put [jewelry] on children’s clothing that isn’t toxic. Whether the lead [in rhinestones] leaches out fully, it’s hard to know, but we don’t want lead in our children’s products. We will come up with other ways to decorate our clothes,’ Cowles said.”

It’s okay, they just want to protect you.

At this point, I have to ask – what on Earth happened to our country? How did we get to this point? I can’t say for myself, I don’t know how this kind of stridency and absence of BASIC common sense took over our nation. Politics no longer makes sense to me. In today’s New York Times, Senator Evan Byah blasts this theme as he explains why he is dropping out of the Senate after 12 years. It’s a depressing read.

More depressing still is how the Democrats are making such a mess of things and disillusioning so many people, myself certainly included. In yesterday’s Barron’s Magazine, the Dems’ ability to actually govern is questioned. That’s a “wow”. This small article details how Senator Max Baucus’ jobs bill (written in response to President Obama’s call for more economic stimulus), was gutted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for “speedy” passage:

“So Reid selected four provisions that he believes all Senate Democrats and Republicans can agree on: tax breaks for small-business investment; more money for highway construction; expansion of the Build America Bond program, and a payroll-tax exemption for employers hiring someone who’s been jobless for at least 60 days. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is openly opposing the payroll-tax exemption, a stance which has fiscally conservative Democrats near despair. ‘Democrats are in danger of demonstrating they cannot govern on the most basic level,’ a progressive Democratic party leader said last week.”

That’s right – the Dems are failing at the most basic level. The CPSIA saga and the politics/populism infecting CPSC leadership and policy these days are part and parcel of the same phenomenon. Rhinestones are this week’s victim. Who is next in line – you?

When are you going to say “ENOUGH”?!

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CPSIA – Why Do Dems Want to Ban Rhinestones?

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