No More Green Eggs and Ham for Your Kids?

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January 15th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

(Click here for our complete coverage of CPSIA.)

Our previous posts on the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) have brought up the legal and financial risks faced by resellers of used and new children’s clothing, toys, and other products. These appear to extend to private sellers on eBay and Craigslist as well as to consignment stores and charity/resale organizations such as Goodwill Industries. We’ve also mentioned problem faced by libraries and home business and small business children’s product manufacturers for which testing costs may be prohibitive. They may be forced to stop loaning out existing children’s books already in their collections for years and selling safe products simply because of the risks and costs of this law.

As we continue to review information and discussion about CPSIA and the text of the law itself, it’s clear there is a lot of confusion about this law. The American Library Association admits after getting everybody alarmed that it doesn’t understand the law and how it will impact libraries in its post Children’s Books and the CPSIA – STANDBY – Situation Fluid.

CPSC is doing an inadequate job at clearing up the chaos and confusion. Even proponents of the law, such as Consumers Union, are complaining to the CPSC via a letter stating that it needs to get off its tail and start explaining how this law is really going to work. At the same time, Consumers Union is trying to get the public to back enforcement of this unclear law via its web site Not In My Cart.

We generally applaud the efforts of Consumers Union to protect consumers from bad and unsafe products. However, it’s hard to understand the intellectual inconsistency they are demonstrating by admitting CPSIA and its implementation are a disaster of clarity and confusion while demanding such unclear law be enforced. What is it that will be enforced? Apparently they don’t even know, otherwise they would not be writing letters asking for clarification.

It seems like Consumers Union is now competing with Congress in some bizarre contest to demonstrate incoherent actions and words. They won’t win. Congress has them beat by a longshot. Still, we’d prefer that Consumers Union spend more time on figuring out what the bloody mess of a law means before pushing for enforcement of it on February 10, 2009.

As a parent, I don’t want my kids playing with items containing unsafe levels of lead and poison plastics, either. But if CPSIA is going to force “untested children’s books” to be dumped in landfills in huge quantities because libraries and other parties can’t afford the risk of keeping The Complete Adventures of Curious George and Green Eggs and Ham on the shelves for kids to read, borrow, or buy, there’s something really wrong with the law. Such implications smell like censorship, whether intentional or not.

Wake up CPSC and Congress!

For starters, at least exempt libraries and their existing book collections while this is all sorted out.

Further reading:

Children’s Book and the CPSIA

CPSIA and Libraries

Children’s Books and the CPSIA – STANDBY – Situation Fluid

Consumers Union Asks Nancy Nord, CPSC To Do A Better Job Explaining These New Toy Testing Rules

CPSIA Insults Mommy Bloggers

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