Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Brain Wreck

I woke up this morning and thought, "I am not going to read anything about CPSIA today. I'm just not. I have other things to do." Then I made a list of everything I was going to do today.

Then I went to my computer. I'm rubber necking. There's a brain wreck out there in the CPSC, and I can't look away. I am so weak.

I'm not going to reiterate everything being written, but The Book Room has been posting tons of great information, including links to other posts and information. The Common Room has been writing eulogies for now targeted books. (I've personally added several to my wish list.)

It is ludicrious to think of books, clothing, and everything blanketed into this legislation as hazardous materials. While well-intended, I cannot imagine the thought process that expanded this law as far as it has. Even California and their stringent laws (you've seen the labels, "This product contains a chemical known to the state of California to cause cancer") had to prove a risk before products could be added to their lead law, and swarovski crystal, though high in lead, wasn't included because the lead isn't in an accessible form.

The Common Room posted this picture. We've all read the jokes about how we ever survived with only mom's arm as a seat belt (nevermind car seats), playing outside barefoot all day long only stopping in for meals, riding bikes with no bike helmets, drinking from the hose, chewing on crib railings painted with lead-based paint. Now we can add, how did we all make it this long with our mothers and grandmothers reading to us?

I'm glad people are writing about this. I hope people are listening.

What really chaps my hide for today is this really neat video of Julie Vallese, a CPSC spokeswoman and former director of public affairs talking about the CPSC's "very big sweeping piece of legislation" (0:40, that alone should scare you) that involves children's products, which are defined as "anything sold for the primary use of a child 0-12." Lead is defined as a "banned hazardous substance," as is anything containing it.

Ms. Vallese states that resellers are not required to test products they sell (which is why snopes made a false determination on the claim about the CPSIA), BUT they are required to obey the law. So if not test, how do you know? We really get a great insight into Ms. Vallese's superhero talent when she suggests resellers "look at it" (5:30) to determine if their products contain more than 600ppm lead. Thank you, Ms. Vallese! You don't have to pay to test! Just use your laserbeam eyes and determine whether there is too much lead or not. She also suggests calling the manufacturer about every product that comes into the thrift shop. Right. Watch the video closely, you can see her brain sliding out her ear.

I have to say the best part of the video is when she states that there is "misinformation being floated out by...the mommy blogs...that they are just not understanding" (about 3:10 in the video). Don't tick off the moms lady. Don't tick off the moms. Type "mommy bloggers spreading misinformation" in a google search and you'll find a whole lotta ticked off moms.

I guess we're all terrible mothers because we actually want to keep these "banned hazardous substances" in our children's hands. But I'm going to keep talking about this because I don't want to have to buy books on the black market.

The Handmade Toy Alliance goes point by point through the myths about CPSIA.

If you want to look at lists of lead recalls for yourself, here's the CPSC website.

"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will...shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated."

Thomas Paine

Mommy Blogger


  1. I love how the CPSC spokeswoman says that resellers are not required to test but to have a 'level of confidence' that the item is not in violation of the law. Would that be a 'high level' of confidence or a 'low level' of confidence. *Shaking head* And I love your superhero comment...indeed don't we all have the super power of looking at an item to know if it is lead free? And mind you she keeps using the level of 600 ppm now...but come Aug. 2009 the level is going to be 300 ppm. So don't you think if people have to go through all the trouble to 'look' at something or test it they should know that in 6 months it has to have half the allowable level today?

    Here is a link to correspondence from the Association of American Publishers to the CPSC. I think the AAP has some very good points.


    (read from page 16 forward for it to make sense)

    P.S. Go Mommy Blogger Marni!
    If this is really all a 'misunderstanding' blown out of proportion by mommy bloggers, why do they have spokespeople like that to make everything clear as mud. Granted congress passed the law and they just have to figure out how to enforce it, but seriously they need some major P.R. help.

  2. Hi Marni,
    Kat placed a link to this post on my blog, and I wanted to send along my link about this issue, so that you could read it and know that THIS Mommy Blogger is right there with you!
    My post is about us, going to the thrift shop this past Friday, to discover that all their toys, baby stuff, and most of their chidren's clothing was thrown away because of this law.
    Thank you for your well-written post on this subject -