Just how bad is the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act, which Patrick has diligently covered here? Well, Walter Olson demonstrates that it has led the Consumer Products Safety Commission to advise thrift shops, secondhand stores, and others to throw out books if they were made before 1985, and if the shops cannot pay for ruinously expensive and impractical testing:
To take just one example, that of resale, thrift and consignment stores, the CPSC guidance advises that such stores discard, or refuse to accept donations of, a very wide range of children’s items unless they are willing to test the items for lead or call their original manufacturer — neither of which steps is consistent with the economics of an ordinary small thrift store. Included in the suspect list are most children’s clothing (because most of it has snaps, buttons, zippers, grommets or other closures with unknown/unproved metal or plastic content), most books that were printed before 1985 or that (even if more recent) include metal or plastic elements such as staples* or spiral binders; most playthings (dolls, balls, trains, toy cars, etc.), most shoes and hair ornaments, most sporting goods, outdoor play items and wagons, board games when including any plastic spinners, tokens or other items, all bicycles and tricycles in kids’ sizes, most decorations for kids’ rooms, nearly everything with metal or synthetic applique, most school, art and science supplies, and on and on.
Over at Defending People, Mark Bennett has some apt commentary. What are the chances of Congress doing anything competent in the wake of this example of its own incompetence? Slim and none.
Last 5 posts by Ken White
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