Thursday, June 3, 2010

CPSIA - Fear of Zippers

I have been tossing and turning about zippers ever since the April 29 House hearing. Perhaps you recall Steve Levy's demonstration of why thousands of pairs of pants and jeans were thrown away under the CPSIA to make you so much safer. As you know, you can't place a price tag on safety. Burn, baby, burn.

In response to questions by Ranking Member Whitfield, Steve Levy discussed lead in zippers at about the 47 minute mark in the testimony video. He noted that zippers are made of five to seven components, one of which has been found to have trace lead amounts in excess of current limits. The component in question is not accessible (it's sewn into the crotch of the pant) but since the CPSC can reach the component with a probe, it is considered violative. Fabric is not considered a "barrier" to access under CPSC rules. Bummer, that's thousands of pairs of pants into the garbage.

Self-appointed "Safety Czarina" Rachel Weintraub was quick to object to the horrors of Mr. Levy's jeans: "The problem is, unfortunately, that children mouth zippers all the time. You know I have three young children. My oldest child who is almost six, he mouths zippers as well. . . . The problem is that children interact with clothing in dynamic ways." This Rachel-speak is the version of "common sense" that imbues the CPSIA. Perhaps you recognized the valuable insights.

Whoa! Children are so "dynamic" with their clothes, this little zipper could be zapping IQ points every day. Wow. I am quite a worrier as you know, so I have been fretting about zippers almost non-stop for a month. After all, we clothed our children in pants with zippers since they were born (many years ago). I can't detect any missing IQ points in my kids, but of course, I am not nearly as smart as Rachel Weintraub or the other safety zealots perhaps as a result of my wearing jeans to this very day. Still, I could not ignore Rachel's serious warning but needed to better understand the danger.

So we asked a four-year-old volunteer to suck on his jeans zipper. Here's what happened. Don't worry, no IQ points were killed or harmed in the making of this video.

WARNING: The following video contains dramatic footage of a four-year-old attempting to suck on his jeans zipper. Such graphic footage may not be appropriate for everyone. Please think carefully about watching the video if you are a member of a consumer group.


bchiasson said...

Great video and good actor! Perhaps this is the beginning of a about demos of licking ATVs, bicycles, and the Uncle Fester Amazing Lightbulb Trick.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely hilarious! Is there anyway to e mail this to Mommy Weintraub?
So maybe Congress, better yet Obama should demand that the clothing industry change ALL metal zippers to plastic zippers. Oh, wait, plastic is dangerous too. Maybe no zippers just suspenders. Oh wait the elastic material may contain lead and could be a strangulation hazard, and the clips most likely have lead in them too. Hmmm...maybe a pants-less society is the way to go.

Anonymous said...

It is a wonder that our parents ever survived without the CPSC.

April said...

gThat is wonderful!! A perfect example of just how riduculous this worry is. I understand that Ms. Weintraub (hopefully) was referring to more accessible zippers- such as sweatshirts & jackets. But unfortunately, such specifics are not outlined. Just the fear & dramatics we've come to expect.

kathleen said...

I'm confused.
Zippers suck or suck zippers? Should zippers be feared? The only people I know who are afraid of zippers (and who think they suck but don't suck them) are 40 year olds, not four year olds. They fear them because they're hard to set not because they can be sucked. Said 40 year olds would agree zippers suck but not that zippers can be sucked.

I agree a video series is in order. Must talk to spousal unit about shooting some once we arrange the loan of some toddlers...

Anonymous said...

Maybe that's why in futuristic movies (like Star Trek)everyone is wearing jumpsuits ;)

David said...

Perhaps members of the consumer police and those on government payroll want to get real jobs - the ones that can get destroyed by idiotic thinking, operating on hysteria and a severe lack of facts.

Their holier than thou approach to protecting children is offensive.

Anonymous said...

i think we need to the CPISA to take a reality check and go back to history. when the jean were popular back in the seventy people were worry more on how their butt looks and not the lead on the zipper. we all grow up wearing jeans and so does those people from CPISA have them go back and talk to their parents about the lead zipper back in the seventy where technology was not fully developed and lead is everywhere. now with technology we have we are worrying lead zipper. people let get real look at the all the great people such as our presidents, super athletes, business people that has grown up with wearing these same lead zipper jean.

Esther said...

Gene Roddenberry requested that all the zipper pulls be removed from the uniforms (Classic Star Trek and TNG). Maybe he knew something that we didn't? (Though I'm still trying to figure out how you would comfortable zip something up without a zipper pull).

Anonymous said...

A Product Safety Haiku

Which is less toxic?
Unsuckable zippers or

Anonymous said...

Product Safety Makes Me Want to Drink

Hey boys and girls! Lead standards getting you down? Thousands of pages of regulations and you still don’t know what to do? Well do I have the answer for you! While watching the next CPSC briefing, fill you your McDonalds Shrek glass with your favorite alcoholic beverage and play along with the “Product Safety Makes Me Want to Drink” drinking game! Unlike CPSIA compliance, the rules of the game are easy! Like CPSIA compliance, feel free to make up your own rules as you go along! In the spirit of CPSC regulations I must include the following warning: most CPSC briefings are early in the morning (it’s 5 o’clock somewhere!) so you may want to keep your afternoon schedule clear. And of course, use “common-sense” and be “safe.”

Every time…

Commissioner Moore doesn’t turn on his microphone…chug

Chairman Tenenbaum cuts off Commissioner Nord…take a sip

Commissioner Northup refers to any town in Kentucky…take a sip (or a shot of your favorite Kentucky bourbon)

Chairman Tenenbaum refers to transparency…finish your drink

Chairman Tenenbaum reminds everyone that the CPSC is more than just the CPSIA…take a sip

Commissioner Northup says “common sense”…take a drink

Commissioner Northup or Nord mention a problem with the CPSIA…toast, and chug

Commissioner Adler compliments someone…take a dink

Commissioner Adler and Commissioner Nord get into an argument…take a sip

You hear the word “risk”…take a sip

Chairman Tenenbaum talks about lead in zippers…attempt to suck on your zipper and if you succeed, finish your drink. If you don’t succeed still finish your drink.

Commissioner Moore has to leave for a dentist appointment…game over. Finish everything on the table.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Great minds think alike.