Hypocrisy watch: The Natural Resources Defense Council is one of the groups most actively promoting the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act, the law that mandates expensive, in fact ruinous, testing of any consumer product intended primarily for children under 12. Just yesterday, the Council, working with Ralph Nader's Public Citizen, obtained a ruling from a court in New York that makes the law's effects retroactive. While, technically, the ruling only effects non-compliant products (those containing lead or phthalates), in practice, this means that stores must throw out any untested merchandise already in their inventory, if they wish to avoid tort liability.
Here's the hypocrisy. The NRDC (what do diapers, toys, and lunchboxes have to do with natural resources, anyway?) is one of the worst offenders. You can, as of this writing, buy non-compliant onesies from the NRDC. Onesies that may contain deadly lead and phthalates. Deadly to children!!! We can't know, because the onesies haven't been tested.
Even better: The NRDC, on Twitter, stated that the onesies are in compliance, because:
The NRDC attorney who worjed[sic] on our suit about #CPSIA tells me the testing requirements only apply to manufacturers.
But there's still more, as the commercials say. According to the NRDC's own press release, on yesterday's victory:
NRDC and Public Citizen filed the lawsuit in December, following a CPSC attempt to create a loophole in the congressionally mandated ban, which goes into effect February 10, 2009. The loophole would have allowed retailers to stockpile and continue selling dangerous products as long as they were manufactured before the ban date.
So which is it? Retailers, or manufacturers? Who's actually in touch with the NRDC's lawyers? Their press release department, or their twitter feed? Or is this just yet another example showing this law to be so confusing that even the groups who want to sue under it don't have a clue what it means?
Update: I see that the NRDC has changed its tune. They're now giving away these potentially deadly, untested onesies, as a free gift (in return for a minimum $25 donation). Sorry NRDC, that sham won't help in court, any more than it helps a ticket scalper who throws in a free pair of tickets, for customers who buy a ballpoint pen for $500.
The toxic onesies must go!
Hat tip: Walter Olson