Tuesday, July 6, 2010

CPSIA - Losing Sight of the Issue in Pool Deaths

These are the people who are protecting you:

"[The] CPSC, which kicked off a pool-safety campaign Thursday, emphasized that [pool safety] issues go beyond drains: At least 70 people drowned in pools since Memorial Day; 80 more almost drowned. 'There were thankfully zero drain entrapment deaths in 2009,' says CPSC spokesman Scott Wolfson. 'Our campaign is aimed at reducing child drownings and keeping entrapment deaths to zero again this year.'" [Emphasis added]

USA Today, July 3, 2010 "Pool-safety advocates decry loss of drain backup rule"

Yes, the safety enforcement circus carries on. The USA Today reports that AT LEAST 70 people have died in pool drownings since Memorial Day (May 31). The July 3 article appears 33 days after Memorial Day, so that's more than TWO DEATHS A DAY. Another 80 almost drowned - the total serious injuries and deaths is about FIVE A DAY. And the CPSC's reaction - if the deaths didn't occur from pool drains, we can all breathe a sigh of relief. WHEW! If they had died from a pool drain, that would have been really TERRIBLE.

Of course, the victims are still dead. Not a safety concern, apparently. We must stay focused on pool drains . . . .

I know you think I'm kidding BUT to judge by the reality-detached hyperbole of our heroic Democratic Congressional leaders, you'd never know it. Consider the remarks of the estimable Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, one of Ms. Pelosi's attack dogs in the CPSIA drama: "CPSC interpreted the law in the 'most egregious and narrow way possible' by eliminating the requirement for backup systems, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., and co-sponsors of the law said in a letter to CPSC Commissioner Robert Adler last month." [USA Today article]

And why did Ms. Wasserman Schultz think this action was so "egregious"? Here are her words: "We understand that the interpretation that CPSC adopted is the same one that the pool and spa industry endorsed, and is not the interpretation that public interest groups and victims' families had urged the Commission to adopt." Aha - how DARE the CPSC defy consumer groups in favor of evil industry?! Doesn't the agency know that if industry wants something, it must be bad for consumers?!

Democratic Senators pitched in as well they could. Drawn from the same rogue's gallery that brought you the noxious CPSIA (Pryor, Durbin, Klobuchar, Nelson (FL) and Dodd), the Senators stated that the Commission violated "both the spirit and the letter of the act."

Okay, Junior Scientists of Congress, committed to making us so so SOOOO safe, please note that deaths from pool drains totalled 11 in ten years according to the CPSC. However, total deaths from pools is more than two a day since Memorial Day, and has averaged 385 per year for children under 15 in recent years. So you guys are hassling the agency over a design flaw that causes 11 deaths a decade, and seemingly want it to be the priority of the agency over, say, general pool deaths which total almost 4,000 kids each decade (about 3,000 are under five). Perhaps you should have sent your letters to the families of the 70 victims in the last 33 days so they'd know how much you care.

For a change (it's been a long-g-g-g-g time coming), the agency was trying to make a practical decision on how to implement a very expensive law focusing on a small problem. The data now suggests that the expense of the Virginia Graeme Baker repairs are prohibitively high, especially in light of the infrequent injuries (however horrific).

Sadly, when it could finally take the high road, the agency flinched in front of the press, insulting the memory of the 70 recent drowning victims. To slough off the 70 recent deaths because they weren't caused by pool drains is nothing short of abdication of duty (or resignation to failure). I don't know about you, but I am plenty tired of politically-motivated, pet project, holier-than-thou safety. This benefits no one other than the pandering politicians hoping to dupe you into voting for their reelection.

Will this madness EVER end???

1 comment:

Geoff Jones said...


I think you missed the point. It is about lowering the number of deaths associated with the people drowning AS A RESULT OF THE SUCTION DROWNING THEM. Don't you see that all of these public pools will need to close and have a highly trained technician perform the upgrade. Since the work won't be completed in a timely manner the public pools will go out of business (since the summer months are their bread and butter). The closure of so many pools will result in fewer people having access to pools and therefore the number of people killed by drowning will go down ACROSS THE BOARD! This will be seen as a HUGE SUCCESS and the politicos in Washington will all pat each other on the back. Then curiously there will be a spike in the number of skateboarding accidents (because of all the empty pools!) which will bring a revist to the CPSIA to make skateboards a special category of toy. This should be a dream come true since that means we will ALL be invited to discuss the CPSIA and we will finally get a chance to talk about the unintended consequences of this AWFUL law.

Mark my words, I don't think this is funny, but at least you heard it here first.