What did they know and when did they know it? The vote on 100 ppm is going on this AM, so it's too late to do anything about the projected 3-2 vote implementing this pointless and self-destructive provision of the CPSIA. From my perspective, having investing time and money in trying to stop this train wreck, it has been a long time since there was anything we could do about it. It's not our country.
I have written about this provision endlessly in this space. I thought I would just put up a couple bits of info previously disclosed here for perspective on the vote.
The 100 ppm lead limit vote is a vote of conscience. The Commission knows what they are about to unleash. I told them in no uncertain terms during my February 16th testimony:
From the CPSC Staff analysis of 100 ppm:
"[While] staff does not have data on potential lead exposure from products that have lead content less than 300 ppm, but more than 100 ppm, staff expects that the overall contribution of such products to lead exposure in children is minimal."
"Staff has found no intentional uses of lead in materials at concentrations at or near any of the three statutory lead limits (i.e., 100 ppm, 300 ppm, or 600 ppm). . . . Without the intentional use of lead in materials or the use of certain recycled materials, the lead content of most materials is substantially below the mandated limits."
Notably, NO consumer group has responded to my call or Congress' call for the identities of previous victims of the "hazard" that the CPSC purports to regulate. With no victims identified EVER ANYWHERE, the claims of benefits from this provision are spurious at best.
What is the EPA's opinion on lead in dirt? 400 ppm in play yards and 1200 ppm elsewhere is just fine. No word yet whether G-d, the manufacturer of dirt, has to provide comprehensive testing for compliance.
What is the economic impact of this change? The CPSC did not do a cost-benefit analysis as Obama's Executive Order requires now, but only provided "Economic Information" (cost only, no benefit analysis):
"[Bringing] products that do not currently comply with the 100 ppm limit into conformance is generally expected to result in increased manufacturing costs. . . . [Manufacturers] of children’s bicycles experienced a 20 to 25 percent increase in the costs of metallic components when the lead content limits were reduced from 600 ppm to 300 ppm. . . . Learning Resources, Inc., a manufacturer of educational materials and learning toys, said it expects a 10 to 20 percent increase in the cost of producing finished goods when the lead content limit is reduced to 100 ppm. . . . testing costs may rise . . . . Because there are limits to the reduction in profits that firms are willing and able to accept, some manufacturers are likely to reduce their selection of children’s products or exit the children’s market altogether. Some manufacturers may even go out of business. . . ."
"The higher costs associated with metal components will probably result in some efforts to substitute lower cost materials. Plastics, for example, might be substituted for metal parts in some products. Some of these types of substitutions may affect the utility of the children’s products. . . . Additionally, and as noted in comments from the Handmade Toy Alliance and the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association, it is likely that the costs will have relatively greater consequences for smaller manufacturers and artisans, who have less bargaining power with components suppliers, fewer technical resources, smaller production runs to spread testing costs over, and smaller product lines.. . . ,There appear to be few readily available options for mitigating the costs associated with the 100 ppm content limit. . . ."
Mr. Obama's Executive Order requires the agency to make actual cost-benefit assessments of this change in law now. I made the same call on February 16, 2011 during my testimony on 100 ppm:
You can find numerous other clips from the 100 ppm hearing in posts in this space in late February or on YouTube. You can also read my comment letter on 100 ppm.