Congress' Junior Scientists Club (Senators Klobuchar, Schumer and Nelson) sprung into action Tuesday to solicit co-sponsors for CPSIA knock-off legislation to ban cadmium and various other materials in jewelry. The delicious irony here is their choice of day to launch this effort, namely the day that Massachusetts elected a Republican to replace Ted Kennedy in the Senate, an election result widely interpreted as a firm rejection of this Administration's government intervention, you know, like this bill.
Let's not forget that in 1972 the Federal Government created a little known agency to handle "threats" like this, namely the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Congress gave the CPSC the authority it needed to do its job. Oddly, today our Democratic-dominated government seems to think that only it can solve safety problems and further must LEAP into action to save us. I question this. Perhaps the CPSC even questions this.
Even more remarkable is the Dems persistence in pursuing a CPSIA strategy to "stop this cold". Have these Senators learned nothing from the last 18 months of CPSIA chaos and pain, preferring instead to continue legislating without research, hearings or contemplation? Well, the approach "worked" once before and they did read an AP story about it. . . .
Someday these Senators will be up for reelection. Mark your calendars!
Here's their letter for your reading pleasure:
Sent: Tuesday, January 19, 2010 12:16 PM
Subject: Cosponsor the Safe Kids' Jewelry Act - keep cadmium out of children's jewelry
Senators Schumer, Nelson and Klobuchar are seeking cosponsors of the Safe Kids’ Jewelry Act. A copy of the draft bill is attached. Please let Stacy Ettinger in Senator Schumer’s office know, this week, if your boss would like to cosponsor the bill or if you have any questions about the bill.
Also, appended below, please find the January 10, 2010, by Justin Pritchard on the Associated Press’s investigation into use of cadmium in children’s jewelry and the adverse health effects of cadmium exposure (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34793600/ns/health-kids_and_parenting/print/1/displaymode/1098/ ).
SUPPORT THE SAFE KIDS’ JEWELRY ACT
Protect Children from Exposure to Cadmium and Other Toxic Heavy Metals in Children’s Jewelry
We write to request that you consider cosponsoring the Safe Kids’ Jewelry Act. We believe that this bill is vital to protect children from exposure to cadmium and other toxic heavy metals in children’s jewelry. The legislation would prohibit the manufacture and sale of children’s jewelry – including charms, bracelets, pendants, necklaces, earrings, or rings – containing cadmium, barium or antimony.
Cadmium is a soft, silver-white metal that typically is used to manufacture pigments and batteries and in the metal-plating and plastics industries. Cadmium is a known carcinogen and studies show that direct exposure has adverse developmental and reproductive effects and can lead to kidney disease, among other health problems. Infants and young children are particularly vulnerable to the dangerous effects of cadmium and other toxic heavy metals. Children’s growing bodies absorb these metals at much higher rates than adults and long-term cumulative exposure increases toxicity.
This legislation is needed because test findings show a growing presence of cadmium in children’s jewelry as foreign manufacturers switch from lead – now banned in children’s products – to cheap substitute metals. In lab testing for a recent Associated Press investigation, chemists found significant use of cadmium in a variety of charms, bracelets and pendants sold at several popular retail stores.
In addition to banning children’s jewelry made with cadmium, barium or antimony, the legislation provides for enforcement of the ban, as well as further study on whether other heavy metals should be banned for use in children’s jewelry or other children’s products. Specifically, the bill —
· Protects children. Children are most vulnerable to the health risks from cadmium and other heavy metals. The bill bans the manufacture and sale of children’s jewelry containing cadmium, barium or antimony marketed for children ages 12 and under. Products covered by the ban include charms, bracelets, pendants, necklaces, earrings and rings. The ban would take effect 90 days from enactment of the legislation.
· Gives the CPSC flexibility to designate the most effective testing and certification requirements. The bill gives the Commission authority and flexibility to set stringent, effective testing and certification requirements for manufacturers to ensure the safety of children’s jewelry.
· Sets criminal and civil penalties for violations. Children’s jewelry containing cadmium, barium or antimony would be considered a “banned hazardous substance” under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (“FHSA”). The bill mandates application of criminal and/or civil penalties under the FHSA for any violations of the Safe Kids’ Jewelry Act. The bill requires the Commission to report annually to Congress on its actions to enforce the Safe Kids’ Jewelry Act, as well as whether the Commission imposed any criminal or civil penalties for violations of the Act.
· Does not preempt State or local law. A significant number of States and localities across the country are now considering enacting laws to ban sales of children’s jewelry containing cadmium and other heavy metals. The bill makes clear that the Safe Kids’ Jewelry Act would not preempt State or local laws relating to regulation of products containing cadmium, barium or antimony. The bill also clarifies that the Safe Kids’ Jewelry Act would not affect any enforcement action or liability of any person under State law.
· Requires CPSC to report to Congress regarding heavy metals which should be banned from children’s products. The bill requires the Commission to study and report to Congress within one year on whether other heavy metals should be banned from use in children’s jewelry or other children’s products.
We hope you will join us in supporting this bill. If you have any questions about the bill or would like to cosponsor the bill, please contact Stacy Ettinger in Senator Schumer’s office (4-7945 or email@example.com); Clint Odom in Senator Nelson’s office (firstname.lastname@example.org); or Jonathan Becker in Senator Klobuchar’s office (email@example.com).
Charles E. Schumer