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CPSIA – The House Answers with its Own (Bipartisan) Suspension Bill

The Republicans and Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee have apparently suddenly agreed on a new 29-page draft CPSIA Amendment .  This is a modification of ECADA and is probably the best that the House Republicans could extract from the Dems.  It is also part of a game of chicken between the House and Senate on how to amend the CPSIA.   The bill is sponsored by Mary Bono-Mack and G.K. Butterfield, meaning that it is a bipartisan bill.  It will proceed to the House floor for a vote tomorrow, cannot be amended and will only  pass by 2/3 majority vote.  It could be a voice “consensus” vote and will likely pass without opposition given its bipartisan character. A quick review of this amendment: a.  100 ppm lead standard is made prospective. b.  Functional Purpose exception process remains part of the amendment.  [I have written extensively on how this provision is a sham .  I haven't changed my mind.] c.  ATV exception is included.  This is death knell for any hope of later CPSIA amendments. This signals the end of the road. d.  The terms of the bike stay are made into law.  They also get a really sweet deal – as far as I can tell, they don’t have to test metal components anymore.  That provision is buried on page 19 in the book exception section.  All the better to sneak it through.  Nice for them . . . but no word as to why we must test metal components.  Too bad for us, I guess. . . . e.  Resale goods exception is included. f.  Testing rules are now based on “representative” samples, not “random” samples.  The rest of the provision is based on the Eshoo amendment requiring further “inquiry” on reducing costs of third party testing.  The Eshoo model still requires “assuring compliance” with the lead standards.  This is the big dollar issue, as everyone knows, and is the one issue that touches everyone, all the ordinary businesses.  This provision is a punt and offers little prospect for future relief.  This provision is a huge time-waster and will never result in anything useful because the standard for relief is in the context of “assuring compliance”.  It also calls for more business “instruction” like that found in the current draft of the “15 Month Rule”.  [The status of the 15 Month Rule is not apparently addressed and may still emerge from the agency to bite us later this year.]  The authors of the 15 Month Rule draft rule know exactly zippo about the real world and if we are ever supposed to follow their sage dictates, the losses will mount . . . fast.  In any event, this Commission will never feel comfortable with anything less than prophylactic assurance, injury statistics be damned.  I hate this provision because I don’t trust the CPSC Commission under current leadership. Notably, this provision does not stay compliance with the testing rules due to go off stay at the end of the year pending resolution of the Eshoo inquiry.  Congress has not dictated that the stay be extended, and believe me, it won’t be.  The reasoning behind this provision escapes me. g.  Small batch manufacturers receive minimal relief (” reasonable methods to assure compliance “).  The real sham part of this is the tantalizing prospect that the CPSC will actually deliver on this demand for testing relief.  Call me a cynic, but they have received testimony out the wazoo for three years on this topic, and have yet to find a way to “help” the remaining micro-businesses in the market.  And the reason we should believe they will make a afety testing discovery in the future?  Your guess is as good as mine.  They won’t. Small batch manufacturers have to register before benefiting from this wonderful “relief”.  The registration requirement is deeply offensive to me and really shames Congress and the agency.  What did these little companies do to deserve this treatment?  What makes the House (Dems) think this is a good idea?  It smacks of 1984 and is utterly detached from any rational assessment of risk.  Do small batch manufacturers have an exceptionally bad safety track record meriting this kind of surveillance?  Of course not.  That they would accept or even support this treatment is shocking to me.  In any event, no relief is offered to any company with gross revenues in excess of $1,000,000, so it’s really just for the benefit of the really micro micro-businesses.  It won’t benefit me even for small unit volume items we currently sell – our top line makes us ineligible for any possible relief.  Happy registering, little guys! h.  Ordinary books and printed materials get a pass. i.  Durable Nursery Products standards provision (not reviewed). j.  Phthalates standard applied only to “plasticized” components and not to inaccessible components.  Guess that means no more testing of paper, wood and metal. k.  Authority to exclude items from tracking labels provision is given to the CPSC based on practicability.  This is promising although the Dem hanging judges on the Commission have yet to make a single decision that saved a business a dollar for any reason. Don’t hold your breath. l.   Database rules are tweaked in a meaningless way consistent with the Markey proposal on database.  NO relief offered. THERE IS NO RELIEF GIVEN TO EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS.  Thanks, Congress.  I am glad my kids are out of elementary school by now. That’s it, more or less.  Hope you like it, that’s all you’re going to get.

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CPSIA – The House Answers with its Own (Bipartisan) Suspension Bill

CPSIA – ECADA Mark-up DELAYED

The mark-up of the long-awaited CPSIA Amendment (ECADA) has been postponed by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce until after Memorial Day. There was purported a time conflict issue with business pending before the committee. This gives time for the two sides to work to a resolution of their differences. It being Washington, however, don’t hold your breath. The Dems continue to be under Mr. Waxman’s thumb and there is no telling what will dislodge that pressure.

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CPSIA – ECADA Mark-up DELAYED

CPSIA – Treatment of Resale Shops and Garage Sales under CPSIA Amendment

A comment was posted recemtly here questioning whether ECADA (CPSIA amendment) truly liberates the resale industry from the CPSIA. In my opinion, it does. I have also conferred with the authors of ECADA for their intentions, and they confirm that resale shops are intended to be exempted under the new language. The authors point to this language: “obtained by the seller, either directly or indirectly, from a person who obtained such children’s product for use and not for the purpose of resale”. This language should give true resale activities, whether in a shop, in your garage, even on eBay, an exemption from all the requirements of CPSIA. What they didn’t exempt is sales by liquidators. In other words, they did not intend to open a loophole in the protections (purported protections) offered to consumers under the CPSIA allowing mass liquidation of potentially violative products Otherwise, real resale activities are exempt. There are some limited exceptions in ECADA to the resale exemption notably. Thanks for posting this question. I hope this helps clear up any infusion.

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CPSIA – Treatment of Resale Shops and Garage Sales under CPSIA Amendment

CPSIA – Conformed Copy of CPSIA Amendment Sent to House Committee

Here is the conformed copy of the CPSIA amendment as it will be presented to the House Energy and Commerce Committee next week for mark-up.

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CPSIA – Conformed Copy of CPSIA Amendment Sent to House Committee

CPSIA – Good News and Bad News

Here’s the scoop: there is no safe level for lead but apparently there ARE safe levels for radiation.

According to reports today, the radiation drifting over from Japan is “harmless”. No one should worry one little bit even though the Japanese radioactive material is now on the EAST Coast of the U.S.: “Since last week, the officials have tracked the radioactive plume as it has drifted eastward on prevailing winds from Japan — first to the West Coast and now over the East Coast and the Atlantic, moving toward Europe. . . . On Monday, European officials said the plume had reached the East Coast after drifting over North America. One station that detected the fresh radioactivity is in Charlottesville, Va., officials said.”

This is not a problem, believe me. For one thing, it’s not lead, for heavens sake – it’s only iodine-131, iodine-132, tellurium-132 and cesium 137. You probably put that stuff on your cereal, tough guy!

The radiation levels are so low that the experts won’t release them. They probably don’t want to bother us, the levels are so low. “The global network of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, an arm of the United Nations in Vienna, has detected the movements of the plume. The organization’s mandate is to monitor the global ban on the testing of nuclear arms, and it has more than 60 stations that sniff the air for radiation spikes. The group has declined to make the recent findings public, but it shares its information with 120 member states, some of which have divulged the status of the plume’s movements.”

Experts point out that radioactivity is everywhere, what’s the problem with a little more???

The federal government apparently agrees with this guy: “While the news of these radioactive substances being detected may startle some residents, the EPA has emphasized that the normal daily dose of radiation is 100,000 times higher than the radiation found at these monitoring stations. Every day, people are exposed to radiation unknowingly. Radiation is present in food, air, water, and even our homes, all of which are natural sources of it. Increased exposure to radiation can come from medical procedures and industrial occupations as well.” [Emphasis added]

This is in interesting contrast to lead which as everyone knows is dangerous down to one lone, little atom. I know this because pseudo-scientists like American Academy of Pediatricians (fearful of bicycle licking!) and Consumers Union (terrified about 4th graders playing brass instruments!) have repeated over and over that there is NO safe level for lead. NO safe level, kids! They’re experts so they must know, right??? At least they say they’re experts . . . .

These folks pushed Congressional patsies to impose an outright ban on ANY children’s product that might emit ANY lead into the human body. [Section 101(b) of the CPSIA] The CPSC Commission (really, the Democrats on the Commission) helpfully interpreted Section 101(b) to refer to ANY lead, meaning one atom. Nothing ON EARTH can be exempted on this basis, so nothing has been given a pass under the lame-o exemption provision of the act. Had troubling finding choices in new children’s bikes? Want to buy a youth model ATV? Remember the days when you could buy rhinestones to embellish your children’s shoes or pants or in the form of cheap jewelry? You can thank Section 101(b) for this absurd situation. L&K to the AAP and CU (and let’s not forget the Queen Bee of the zealots, Rachel Weintraub of the CFA) for all this safety!

Thank heavens that AAP, CU and CFA aren’t worried about radioactivity. That means there MUST BE safe levels of radioactivity . . . . I see, Fukushima prefecture spinach or milk isn’t really dangerous – but it will give you a healthy glow!

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CPSIA – Good News and Bad News

CPSIA – Congress Turns to Regulating Signs

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CPSIA – Congress Turns to Regulating Signs

CPSIA – Our Worst Nightmare: A Recall Involving Spiders!

Today in a shocking development, Mazda recalled 65,000 cars in North America because of spiders in the gas tank. Talk about hidden hazards! Lenore Skenazy pointed out in a recent article that five Americans die because of spider bites every year. And cars are coated in lead paint, to boot. Obviously, cars are just too dangerous to be on U.S. roads. Thank heavens Mazda took decisive action before tragedy struck. . . .

Needless to say, it is only a matter of time before Rep. Henry Waxman calls for hearings to interrogate Mazda management. Did they check the electronics? No, Mazda blamed the drivers for the spiders. . . . And what if Senator Dick Durbin reads about these spiders in the Chicago Tribune over breakfast? I can see another letter coming. And who will Dick Durbin write? The current Administrator of NHTSA is David Strickland, formerly the senior Senate staffer largely responsible for the Senate’s role for creating our beloved CPSIA. Check out Rep. John Dingell’s “gushing” remarks about the contribution of the Senate to that great legislative achievement. Durbin and Strickland, that “A Team” will get it done for the American public!

Spiders, cars and lead paint. It’s a consumer advocate’s worst nightmare. This requires a LEGISLATIVE SOLUTION, guys!

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CPSIA – Our Worst Nightmare: A Recall Involving Spiders!

CPSIA – Fun with Lead!

Hey kids, don’t try this at home! Discovery Channel’s MythBusters Show plays with molten lead.

Lead is a neurotoxin, in case you forgot. Molten lead is soluble lead, very dangerous if ingested. Of course, molten lead presents OTHER risks if ingested. We need a law against molten lead now!

Check out their experiment. It’s completely irrelevant to the CPSIA but then again, my sense of humor has been underserved for a few years now and I love a good if pointless experiment.

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CPSIA – Fun with Lead!

CPSIA – Lead Isn’t the ONLY Danger Out There . . . .

The Onion News Network broke a controversial story today about yet another danger caused by modern society.

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CPSIA – Lead Isn’t the ONLY Danger Out There . . . .

CPSIA – Cadmium Crisis Explained

Scratching your head about the mounting crisis over cadmium? Let’s see, the CPSC declares the Shrek glasses “not toxic” but still pushes for a recall of these safe products “in an abundance of caution”. Apparently, the CPSC either believes that perfectly safe products should be recalled in an abundance of caution or that they themselves can’t figure out what’s “dangerous” anymore. Not a single article or a single person to my knowledge has identified a single injury caused by cadmium in a consumer product – EVER.

[Oops, SORRY, there is a consumer product closely associated with cadmium intake: " Tobacco smoking is the most important single source of cadmium exposure in the general population. . . . The absorption of cadmium from the lungs is much more effective than that from the gut, and as much as 50% of the cadmium inhaled via cigarette smoke may be absorbed. On average, smokers have 4-5 times higher blood cadmium concentrations and 2-3 times higher kidney cadmium concentrations than non-smokers. . . . No significant effect on blood cadmium concentrations could be detected in children exposed to environmental tobacco smoke." Time to stop smoking, guys - that's big news, apparently.]

Of course, we shouldn’t ignore the fact that the people who are terrorizing America over cadmium are the very same people who are pushing for deep and invasive regulation of all chemicals throughout our society. It’s the anti-chemicals crowd behind the cadmium panic. Mr. Waxman’s big goal is the reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Arguably, the CPSIA is the opening shot in his TSCA battle, which explains his utter intransigence in the face of well-documented catastrophes caused by the CPSIA. Cadmium is perfect for that purpose, especially since no one seems to understand the nature of the threat. Just mention cadmium and “bone softening” and the media and politicians melt.

Anyhow, I was wondering how cadmium became so scary. I realize that cadmium is dangerous under certain limited circumstances – but so are many other things that Americans like to use, such as fire, water . . . and guns. It is obviously time for some research. To help you out, I have provided many useful links below. The history of cadmium is VERY revealing. Here’s what I found out:

The discovery of cadmium came long after Rachel Weintraub and Henry Waxman attended school. Back in the olde days when they were educated, the Periodic Table had a different look:


In those days, when chemistry teachers taught the periodic table, position 48 was known as Puppy Dogs. Chemistry instructors typically explained that this element was responsible for sunshine, candy, love and (of course) puppy dogs. Everything that was good and sweet in our idyllic lives were attributable to Puppy Dogs. Element 48, also known as “Smiley Face”, was always the element children liked best. Most lessons were taught staring dreamily out the window at the playground, watching small children frolic and play. Puppy Dogs was good stuff.

The role of Puppy Dogs in our lives and the American Way was a foundation belief in the scientific community for many years.

Later, science took a dark turn. In 2007, scientists in Congress discovered to their horror that lead (Pb) was not only present on the periodic table just two squares away from Puppy Dogs but that lead was a contaminant in certain consumer products. At this time, science had not advanced far enough for Congressional scientists to know that lead has been on the Earth since creation and is found in everything including our food, water and air. Once Congressional scientists were able to detect trace levels of lead in consumer products, a specialist in the Top Secret Congressional Skunk Works connected the dots – “What about kids? If they play with Puppy Dogs, it’s just two squares away from LEAD!” This is what prompted passage of the CPSIA.

Am I being too science-y? Sorry.

As you know, science marches on and in a very recent 2010 development, scientists at the Consumer Federation of America, led by Rachel Weintraub, and at the CPSC discovered that Puppy Dogs was actually NOT the 48th element. After urgent research into how sunlight was created if not by Puppy Dogs, cadmium was discovered accidentally when someone pulled on their earlobe while deep in thought.

Here’s what Wikipedia says about this Nobel Prize winning discovery:

“Cadmium is a chemical element with the symbol Cd and atomic number 48. Cadmium represents a low point in American science education. In a little known provision of the “Treaty of the Meter” signed by the United States in 1878 signalling the promising beginning of the metric movement in our country, the 48th position of the periodic table was deemed to be a Smiley Face and called “Puppy Dogs”. American science, never questioning this regulation, eventually traced the origins of sunshine and love back to this phantom element. In early 2010, scientists at the U.S. House of Representatives noticed that lead (Pb) was located near Puppy Dogs on the periodic table, and in a rapid series of science-y experiments, determined that Puppy Dogs was actually a soft, bluish-white metal chemically similar to the two other metals in group 12, zinc and mercury. Frighteningly, experiments have determined that cadmium, if dumped into a river in massive quantities as mining run-off over a period of decades, will cause bone softening in nearby populations (“Ouch-Ouch Sickness” is also known as one of the Four Big Pollution Diseases of Japan).”

So that brings you up-to-date on cadmium, bone softening and toxicity. I hope this helps you understand why your Congress and the CPSC are trying to save you from dangerous cadmium. Apparently, you need a lot of “saving”. In my case, I am just going to stop drinking from rivers downstream from WWII mining operations in Japan. That should probably be enough protection for me.

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CPSIA – Cadmium Crisis Explained

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