Wednesday, July 20, 2011

One Agency Answered The Call. Perhaps It's Time We Follow

Today the Wall Street Journal published an article entitled, "Toying With Deregulation: Another agency ignores Mr. Obama's executive order." I bring this to your attention because it focuses on the CPSC’s direct disregard of President Obama’s Executive Order in relation to last week’s vote on the reduction of lead content in children’s toys to 100 parts per million. As the article notes, “while the additional safety gain will be negligible, the change will do damage in other ways, causing companies to avoid recycled metal and plastic, which may contain higher amounts of lead. It will also raise costs for metal parts, potentially driving some businesses to substitute plastic for metal, or stop producing children’s products.”

This article raised three questions in my mind. First, is this really what consumers want for their children or what legislators thought when they drafted this law? Second, how many businesses does the CPSC need to close before somebody gets the message? And finally, and most importantly, how serious are we about following other agencies examples in responding to the President’s Executive Order?

Well, in reference to my last question…apparently not very serious. On July 15th, the EPA (an agency we routinely cite for their stance on lead standards) decided against a proposed rule that would have required contractors to test dust to prove the absence of lead following renovations involving lead paint. It is well known within the health community that lead paint in older homes is one of the most significant causes for higher lead level in children, not toys. If the agency that regulates this recognizes the impact of overregulation on the economy, then why can’t we?

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