The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission has enacted regulations, effective Feb. 10, requiring that all products to be used by children 12 and younger must be tested for lead and phthalates (USA Today, Jan 9). Good idea, right? We want our kids to be safe, right?
The testing will cost from about $400 for a small item to thousands of dollars for larger ones. Every item, in every store, with a child use, would have to be tested. Every item. Every store. Even second-hand stores. Products not tested would be deemed “hazardous” even if they contain no lead or phthalates. Even if they are made of wood.
Excuse me, but this is insane. Yes, we want our kids to be safe. But what does “safe” mean? Reducing the possibility of harm to zero? Can’t be done; life isn’t like that. What we should want is to protect against big, widespread threats. For example, the current hysteria, based on bogus science, that immunizations might cause autism, is a really big threat to children’s safety if it leads to fewer immunizations.
There have been a few cases in which potentially harmful substances like lead have been found in kid products. And, yes, small kids do put things in their mouths. But is there any evidence that any significant numbers of children have actually been harmed in this way? No, there is not.
But one thing is certain: these regulations will harm our economy, big-time. Most retailers cannot afford to comply with such onerous and costly regulations. It’s completely impractical. At a time when our economy is in such trouble, with so many retailers struggling to survive, with so many jobs at risk, for the government to impose such costs on businesses is insane, in the literal sense of the word.
It would be better to have a requirement that government regulatory bureaucrats be tested for lead in their brains.
We are told that the era of deregulation is over, and government regulation is making a big comeback. Here we see what that means. Oy vey.