Monday, August 10, 2009

CPSIA - Battle Creek Examiner Letter to the Editor

Last week the Battle Creek Examiner published an article entitled "Protecting kids: Safety focus of new product label rules". The BCE today published my response as a Letter to the Editor as follows:

"Your article "Protecting Kids" (August 4) promotes the mistaken notion that the tracking labels provision of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act will improve children's product safety. The provision, intended to make recalls "more effective," is unlikely to have the desired effect except for high value, heirloom-type products with long life like cribs and bassinets. However, the expense and liability risk borne by companies remaining in the children's market will have a terrible effect on product availability. We will all lose from the silent erosion of critical markets like apparel and school supplies.

The costs imposed by the new law will hurt all of us by stunting innovation and slowing down small business formation. The gigantic new penalties you herald already led to many resale shops closing their children's departments. Will the residents of Battle Creek benefit next winter when warm clothing is not available to those in need? These effects are called "unintended consequences" in the press, but they are simply the direct result of a law that needs to be fixed.

It's time for Congress to address the obvious problems with the law. Changes need to be made to the law to allow the CPSC to assess the relative safety risk of products. This will protect everyone while permitting companies to do business.

Richard Woldenberg
Learning Resources Inc."

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