Monday, July 20, 2009

CPSIA - Fashion Jewelry Pleads Its Case (July 15 Letter)

Further to yesterday's post, I thought you might like to read the Fashion Jewelry industry's arguments in favor of relief by the CPSC Commission for glass beads and crystals. The July 15 letter is painful to read. It didn't sell with the Commission. The losses from this decision will be massive and pointless.

Perhaps it is easy to slough off this decision as a curiosity. You might feel differently if you ran a company where the livelihood of your employees depended on these items. This weighs heavily with business managers - those folks are your family. It's all the more painful knowing, as everyone knows, that these materials pose no safety risk from lead. Thus, the jobs and large amounts of scarce capital sacrificed to implement this rule will achieve nothing for anyone. No one will be safer, life will not be better, society will not be fairer, people will not be happier.

Let's not forget that jewels and jewelry have been coveted human possessions for millenia. The desirability and demand for these items is undeniable. They bring pleasure, they help create goodwill, self-esteem and quality of life. In this particular case, the glass beads and crystals are properly described in the industry's letter as "bling". Rhinestones, glass beads and crystals are not expensive jewels, of course. For children, these stones allow them to actively join in the societal passion for jewelry. It also allows parents to affordably provide jewelry to small children which has significant self-esteem benefits for parents and kids alike. From an educational standpoint, inexpensive jewelry is an excellent pretend play item, which fosters the development of creativity and imagination. All these benefits will be lost when the stones are withdrawn from the market. There are no good substitutes for these items, only lesser placeholders.

As I explained in my earlier post, the liability risk inherent in the Commission's determination that these materials are not exempt from the CPSIA will inevitably drive these materials out of the market. There is precedent for this (resale shops' sharply reduced sales of children's items). With the extremely tight and unproductive penalty clauses in the CPSIA, only a crazy person would take the risk of knowingly and intentionally selling violative products, whether or not the CPSC says it won't enforce in some vague fraction of the market. In addition, retailers are quite unlikely to sell items that aren't supported with passing test certificates in the coming months. It will be impossible to get a passing test report for these materials now. So kiss off the availability of inexpensive jewels for children. This is so senseless. Congress should be ashamed.

I, for one, do not look forward to a bling-less world, nor do I take comfort in the bland and unbelievable assurances from do-gooders that the lead restrictions will be "good for children". The safety of these materials is beyond question - the risks asserted by consumer advocates are absolutely imaginary, designed simply to prop up their life's work, the noxious CPSIA. The Emperor has no clothes, why won't Congress admit it?

1 comment:

jennifer said...

so sad. my daughter used to love bling. never ate it either.

a member of PIRG stopped by my house the other night (it is embarassing to admit but my husband used to give them money). he wanted to thank us and ask for more money. so i told him we no longer supported PIRG. i told him why and he said really? the toy safety law is protecting children... oh brother...then i let him have it. don't think he will be back to our house again. i'm conviced these consumer groups are just defending their jobs because they don't operate real businesses. we don't go into business to hurt children.