Friday, September 25, 2009

CPSIA - Consumer Group LIES

The propaganda machine of the consumer groups grinds on, even as the screams of dying businesses echo in the media and in the blogosphere. In a recent email to a Handmade Toy Alliance member, a WashPIRG Consumer Advocate (Seattle, Washington) made the following remarks:

"Thank you for your e-mail! While my primary concern is keeping toxics substances out of toys and other consumer products, I share your concern about how this new law impacts the viability of small businesses. As with most laws written by Congress, the CPSIA allows the agency enforcing new regulations to flesh out how the law will be implemented. In this case, the Consumer Product Safety Commission can, and indeed has, written reasonable exemptions for certain products. Clothes, wood products, and books have been exempted and non-toxic pre-approved dyes for children's products will be on the market soon, which should preempt the need for testing.

To be blunt, I'm not impressed with some of the statements made by the Handmade Toy Alliance over the past year. Just as an example, they've grossly overestimated the average cost of toy testing on several occasions. The $300 - $4,000 fee per toy figure is, quite frankly, exaggerated. The average cost per toy test is often as low as $75. Moreover, toy manufacturers won't be required to purchase testing guns, but can instead contract out to existing testing services who, in most cases, charge much lower rates than those quoted by the Alliance."

I see. Again, we are being victimized by business prognosticating by people who have never worked for a business and have never made a product.

Let's count the lies and misinformation:

a. ". . . the CPSIA allows the agency enforcing new regulations to flesh out how the law will be implemented. In this case, the Consumer Product Safety Commission can, and indeed has, written reasonable exemptions for certain products."

This baloney has been hashed over endlessly in this space and is a well-documented lie. Chairman Tenenbaum and Commissioners Nord and Moore, among others, have repeatedly bemoaned their utter lack of flexibility in making decisions under the CPSIA. The absurd rules of the CPSIA has forced the CPSC to confirm the illegality of ATVs, bicycles, ballpoint pens and rhinestones and has caused companies selling rocks and fossils to test them for sharp point and the presence of lead. The fact that they have exempted cotton cloth from lead testing is not the same as liberating the apparel industry, nor does it exempt those products from the burdensome tracking labels requirement or any of the other extreme provisions of this law.

b. "Clothes, wood products, and books have been exempted and non-toxic pre-approved dyes for children's products will be on the market soon, which should preempt the need for testing."

As previously noted, the phthalates testing standard requires testing on anything that "conceivably" could have phthalates in them, including natural wood and cloth, among other things. In addition, clothing will only avoid testing for lead if they have NO components which are subject to testing. This means no appliques, grommets, buttons and so on. The only wood products that will avoid lead testing are products made of pure, untreated natural wood. Not exactly a truck-sized hole to drive through. Finally, the component testing rule, which is more than a year in preparation, is unlikely to solve all the testing problems in the market. The ones that will be solved are easy ones, like button testing. In any event, I have never been convinced that a jumbled mass of product testing reports will satisfy the market in a post-CPSIA environment. You would be BLOWN AWAY by the testing and certification requests we get on a daily basis. The testing mania is a boat that left the harbor on August 14, 2008, and unless Congress gets this back under control, it seems utterly hopeless to me.

c. THE BIG LIE: "To be blunt, I'm not impressed with some of the statements made by the Handmade Toy Alliance over the past year. Just as an example, they've grossly overestimated the average cost of toy testing on several occasions. The $300 - $4,000 fee per toy figure is, quite frankly, exaggerated. The average cost per toy test is often as low as $75. Moreover, toy manufacturers won't be required to purchase testing guns, but can instead contract out to existing testing services who, in most cases, charge much lower rates than those quoted by the Alliance."

Okay, Mr. PIRG, here are a few representative testing reports. Please show me the test report that costs $75. This lie is laughably ridiculous. We have been aggressively testing our products for 20 years and to my knowledge, have NEVER paid $75 for a safety test. Perhaps one line on an invoice is $75, but clearly that won't do it.

Unfortunately, the PIRGs of the world have a very gullible Congress in the palm of their hand. Congress seems quite susceptible to the Big Lie. As long as Congress will accept nonsense as fact, and as long as the CPSC continues to willingly implement the toxic CPSIA as though nothing were wrong, we are doomed. It won't matter if the PIRGs are telling the Big Lie. We won't be here to argue about it anymore.

7 comments:

Ben said...

You missed the lie that we can contract out for cheaper testing services.

PIRG knows we need to have testing done by accredited 3rd party lab.

John said...

You missed the most blatant of all:

"I share your concern about how this new law impacts the viability of small businesses"

cmmjaime said...

And let's not forget this one: "Clothes, wood products, and books have been exempted." Really? Then why are libraries still concerned? Why are resellers of children's books still concerned? And what about book publishers? Did we all miss the pass we got from Congress and/or the CPSC?

Paul said...

Something I could never understand. Why do some people enjoy insulting themselves so much? Is there really any pleasure in it?

Anonymous said...

What these groups seem unwilling to recognize is the level at which they are alienating their support base.

I live in a very "consumer group friendly" area and people here no longer believe the consumer groups or support them.

It isn't rocket science for people to see that these groups are not representing the consumer with this propaganda.

Tristan Benz said...

To cmmjaime, perhaps they meant to say only clothes, wood products, and books made by Mattel have been exempted?" Sorry, couldn't resist.

Rick, have you seen this presentation? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZzHU3ZfTtY&feature=fvw

Perhaps a CPSIA video akin to this one (where you debunk the compost being piled high by such *clever* special interests as you feature here) would be worth considering? Perhaps it would be fun to run a contest to give the video an appropriate name (my vote is for "Dumb and Dumber...a Congressional Tale...").

bchiasson said...

I would love to write a book called "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them." Unfortunately, that book title was already used by Al Franken. I wish I could believe that Americans would not be gullible enough to believe the lies that come from PIRG's and other self-proclaimed consumer advocate groups' propaganda. But since millions of people are gullible enough to believe O.J. is innocent, I am very concerned for the future of our industry.