Friday, January 16, 2009

Congress Reacts

From the Committee on Energy and Commerce official website: "Chairmen Henry A. Waxman and Bobby L. Rush, together with Senator John D. Rockefeller, incoming chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, and Senator Mark L. Pryor, sent a letter to the Consumer Product Safety Commission expressing concerns about implementation of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008. The letter highlighted four issues of particular concern and urged the Commission to take swift action to address critical issues of implementation."

WARNING WARNING The letter below is filled with back pedaling and passing the buck. Blames implementation of the law rather than poorly written legislation. The letter is written as though the CPSC can change the law. In my opinion the law IS being interpreted as it is written. Congress will not in any way retreat from their position that the law is fine and that it is up to the CPSC to 'interpret' in any way they like. By interpret, they mean entirely change the meaning of the actual words.

Read Letter

Keep in mind that these guys are only technically asking the CPSC to consider these recommendations. Even if these new 'interpretations' stand, the effects of this law remain devastating. But here they are:

1) Ordinary books that do not have any components other than normal paper and ink should not require testing. Yay! Libraries can stay open!
Clothing that is dyed or undyed should be considered for an exemption from testing if it contains no painted, plastic or metal components. That leaves what - tshirts? Clothing with unpainted wooden buttons? Dresses with fabric ties?
2) Neither retailers nor resellers like thrift and consignment shops need to test existing inventory but, as usual, still need to meet the new lead limits. So resale is not getting different treatment than any other retailer. This is big news for all retailers. Now they too just need a 'level of confidence' to be able to conduct business. Until they get caught selling anything that does not meet the law.
3) Ask the CPSC to consider component testing. This is a big one for home crafters. At least they wouldn't have to test the final products. Many components that they currently use, however, won't meet the new limits. Certainly not by February 10.
4) Ask the CPSC to give more guidance to small business. chuckle, chuckle

Oh, and they asked the CPSC to do all this by February 10, when the law goes into effect. You might say they're telling them 'to get the lead out'. I don't blame Julie Vallese of the CPSC for resigning. I would, too.

Rick Woldenberg's Response

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