Thursday, January 15, 2009

Confused ...U.S. Comsumer Product Safety Debate


I am always up for a good debate and I will be honest I have not done lots of homework on this --so I am throwing it out there in hopes of getting some great insight!

It seems that there is a whole lot of uproar regarding the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's attempt to protect our children. I do understand the impact of some of the regulations on small businesses, thrift shops, etc... BUT what about protecting our children. Where is it safe and not safe.

I personally buy most clothing from thrift shops and I would really prefer that my children not be exposed to lead (or other chemical) filled clothing. I am aware and try to know what things to look for BUT I do not think that all people shopping at thrift shops are going to be this choosy, which means there will still be children exposed to these chemicals. Why is this okay? Whose responsibility is it to stop these actions.

The bottom line is there is a cycle, if we stop these products from entering our consumer circle then eventually they will be eliminated but in the mean time we have a problem. Who are we protecting the small businesses, thrift shops and a like or our children?

So go ahead, lets hear what you have to say, maybe (hopefully) I am missing something that will make this debate crystal clear to me but right now I am on the fence.

11 comments:

Mon said...

Here's thing. Where's the balance and common sense?

You see, the biggest producer of lead in toys is China. But the new laws will affect a one-man hand-made toy making business. It'll affect you and me trying to sell our wonderful (future) hand-knitted toys on etsy.

USA and Europe aren't really the problem because there have been enough laws in place to keep lead out not only toys but paint as well for years.

It's imported (plastic crap) toys from China and other places that need harsh laws, not the rest.

That's my quick 2cents worth.

Amy said...

Mon: Thanks for stopping by and your thougths - I agree with you, about the hurting the little guy but I think that it is hard to determine common sense and although you and I know that the plastic, made in china toys (and the like) are an issue -- what about the innocent children of trusting and maybe uneducated (on this topic)consumers.

So I guess I too am asking where is the balance and how to we find it for all consumers, not just the knowing!

Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting said...

I wrote this on my post but I wasn't sure you'd see it :)

In essence, they're including every toy and children's product maker, whatever and whoever that might be, and with that, penalizing small mom and pops with expensive testing who don't run that risk. In fact, many mom and pops started in this area to protect their children and friends, fed up with the lead issue themselves.

What we're asking is for an amendment made to the law, to NOT penalize small businesses with the expensive testing. That's what we're voting on, to make them aware of their oversight by making the law so broad.

In the end, we all want to save our children from lead and phthalates. We just want the RIGHT people to be penalized here.

Amy said...

Lisa: I agree so much with this -- thank you! We do need to protect the small manufacturers, I hope this balance is found!

ThisGrandma said...

I found the wording in the clarification from CPSC to be confusing:
"The new safety law does not require resellers to test children’s products in inventory for compliance with the lead limit before they are sold. However, resellers cannot sell children’s products that exceed the lead limit ...., unless they have testing or other information to indicate the products being sold have less than the new limit."

They are not required to test, but are not allowed to sell..??...I understand the need to protect small businesses! (Also keep in mind that the products made in China are made for big multinational companies - mainly owned by US businesses who work to avoid the rules on environment and labor by locating in China !!)
I wonder if there could be a testing facility created by CPSC or govt to help small businesses comply for a small charge - not each having to do their own testing.
Does that make sense??

Tricia said...

Every time there's some sort of sweeping legislation, the net that's cast catches unintended people. I like Barb's idea for a small business testing facility that's inexpensive.

Tiaras and Tantrums said...

someone else posted about this last week - it was the first I heard of it. I don't think the little guys should be penalized!

HeatherPride said...

Kids have got to be first. Always.

goodfather said...

I really hope the amendment goes through. Children should always be protected. But small American toy providers shouldn't go out of business, either.

Anonymous said...

Hi Amy:
Let's put the consumer products safety thing in perspective, focusing on lead hazards as that has been what we have heard in the news lately. I attended a seminar last November about lead based paint hazards in housing and was floored by what I heard. Anyone who lives in a house built before 1978 is likely living with some degree of lead hazard. The older the house, the more lead is likely present. Lead was used in shellac and other products before 1978 - not just paint. Think it's been removed from your house? Think again. Lead is absorbed by wood so even if all of the paint were removed, it's still there. Now, for the "killer" information. A piece of lead the size of a dime - if turned to dust is enough to contaminate 700 average sized homes to a point where children would experience some level of brain damage and adults a drop in IQ. Although no scientific connection has been made between autism and lead - I suspect that will come at some point in the future (and many other brain related connections). I don't know how much housing in the US was built before 1978 but in my State it is well over 50%. There are relatively simple and inexpensive measures which can be taken to avoid lead contamination in homes but most people are unaware of those measures or don't implement them. So, before we legislate small businesses out of business we should probably make sure children are protected at home. Also, the power of market is huge - if we don't buy anything made in China (and we don't need anything made in China) - problem solved.
Aunt Sheila

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