At Forbes, Richard Epstein writes on the same subject I wrote on yesterday, while Walter Olson continues his sterling coverage here. In short, a “consumer product safety” bill that goes into effect next week, supposedly protecting children from the dangers of lead, is so overbroad and poorly targeted that it could cause severe economic dislocation across a huge spectrum of businesses small and large.
What Congress OUGHT to do is replace this terrible new law with a much more simple law in the spirit of caveat emptor. It could do the job well with just two basic clauses. The first would, by a date certain (perhaps Jan. 1, 2011, to give manufacturers time to comply) ban all NEW domestic manufacture of any product intended for the regular use of a child 10 or under with a lead content greater than x percent, with an express permission for the CPSC to make individual product exceptions for products it deems “entirely unlikely to result in ingestion or direct absoprtion of lead” — or somesuch language. This would not apply to products produced before the start date, or to those produced abroad.
For all those other products, a simple rule ought to be adopted: Any foreign producer of such a product must certify that it meets the same standards (with a ban of all products by that company if any such certification is found to be fraudulent), AND the retailer of any product not covered by the new-manufacture ban should be required to attach a sticker or tag to each such item that says: “WARNING: May contain lead. Ingestion may cause serious health problems. Do not let children put in mouth!”
There. That’s common sense. Unfortunately, it is sorely lacking in Washington these days.
Notice to Readers: The American Spectator and Spectator World are marks used by independent publishing companies that are not affiliated in any way. If you are looking for The Spectator World please click on the following link: https://thespectator.com/world.