Want to know why kid’s motorcycles and ATVs haven’t been granted an exemption from the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act? There’s one reason: Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairperson Nancy Nord, a Republican Bush Appointee.
According to Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), one of the chief proponents of
the bill, Congress never intended for CPSIA– a knee-jerk law intended
to stop the sale of lead-heavy toys from China — to ban items like
motorcycles, ATVs and handmade crafts from places like Etsy. Instead,
it intended for the CPSC to grant common sense exclusions for items
that clearly didn’t carry a risk of ingestion. But the CPSC isn’t
granting those exclusions. Why? Because Nord has decided to interpret
the bill’s language in an extremely pedantic way, thereby forcing any
changes to take place by having a further bill passed by Congress, an
incredibly complicated and laborious process.
Nord is using the following to passages from the bill to justify her obtuseness:
“Absorption of any lead into the human body….”
“Nor have any other adverse impact on public health and safety”
It’s the “anys” that are causing the problem. No matter the level of
lead content (the bill elsewhere makes reference to 660ppm), a part
that contains even faint traces of lead can potentially transfer it to
the human body through direct contact. It doesn’t matter if the amount
of lead transferred is less than that absorbed by drinking a glass of
clean tap water or taking a breath of air, Nord is interpreting “any”
as literally that. Any. She’d ban air and water if she had the power.
And sincee absorbing any lead can be considered to have an adverse
impact on health, even if that impact is so minute it’s scarcely
quantifiable, Nord is refusing to budge.
This has exasperated the motorcycle industry and Congress alike,
forcing the industry to lobby Congress for a new bill, a move Congress
never intended and which is likely to be time consuming and
problematic. The Motorcycle Industry Council estimates that the ban
will cost the industry $1 billion in lost revenue during 2009.
Democrats in Congress are now calling for President Obama to replace
Nord with someone who will interpret and enforce CPSIA in the common
sense manner that they intended.