More evidence that we are being controlled by mentally deficient idiots.   Based on the 2008 law called the Consumer Product Safety Information Act, the U.S. government  on November 4, 2009, banned  all products intended for children under 13 that contain brass unless the product passes a prohibitively expensive test that shows the product does not contain too much lead content.

Here is the statement of Consumer Product Safety Commissioner Nancy Nord on the request from Learning Curve Brands, Inc., that toys  for exclusion from Section 101(b)(1) of the CPSIA:

The Commission has denied, by a 3 to 2 vote, a petition by Learning Curve Brands for an exclusion from the lead provisions of the Consumer Product Safety Improvements Act (“CPSIA”) for brass and other mechanical components of replica and toy die-cast items. . . .

This case presents yet another example of the unintended consequences of the CPSIA.  No one believes that this product presents a risk of lead poisoning to children.  The result of not granting an exclusion is to remove from consumers’ hands products that, in their current state, do not present a real risk.  A substitute collar for the axle, for example made of plastic, could prove a greater safety concern if it could more easily break, posing a choking hazard for small children.  This result imposes burdens on both consumers and businesses without any net increase in consumer safety, and indeed a potential decrease in consumer safety.

In this case, certain things are clear:

  • Our staff report indicates that there is no real risk of harmful lead exposure associated with the brass collar components of die-cast toys.
  • If brass is prohibited in children’s products under the CPSIA, the impact could be far reaching throughout our economy.  The implications of this decision for other children’s products, not only those in the home, but also in our schools – such as desk hinges, locker handles, and coat hooks – are significant and should be considered by Congress.
  • There will be significant economic injury not only to Learning Curve Brands, but also to other companies making children’s products with brass in them.
  • These losses are exacerbated by the retroactive effect of the law which extends the ban to inventory, including items sold in thrift stores.

Instead of being able to craft something that works for both consumers and product sellers, the Commission’s decision does not advance consumer safety and restricts consumer choice. As exclusion requests continue, the ability for the Commission to grant exclusions remains slim, because of the inflexible nature of the law.  I urge Congress to give us the clear ability to address these issues based on our scientific expertise.

In a post on her blog, Commissioner Nord states “The implications of this vote are significant for the following reasons, among others:

  • First, this is the first opportunity that the newly reconstituted CPSC with three new commissioners, has had to consider the appplication of the lead provisions.  The Commission has now very clearly determined that we do not have the flexibility under the law to make common sense decisions with respect to lead.
  • Second, the impact of this decision goes well beyond the particular toy subject to the petition.   I am especially concerned about what this decision means for our schools, where brass is found on desk hinges, coat hooks, locker pulls and many other items.  Are schools now going to be forced to remove all brass and if so, who will bear this financial burden?
  • Third, brass is found throughout a home and removing it from toys does little in terms of removing it from a child’s environment. If brass were really harmful to children, we would be taking action to remove it from the home but no one is suggesting that there is a safety issue that needs to be addressed in this way.
  • Fourth, there will be significant economic injury to not only the company that filed the petition, but also to other companies making children’s products with brass in them.”

See “School Bands a Thing of the Past” in which the author speculates that schools will not be able to allow children under 13 to use untested musical instruments that contain brass such as bells, bugles, cymbals, french horns, guitars, saxophones, trombones, trumpets and tubas.

See also “CPSIA – My Ruling on Brass Bushings,” which makes the following comments about the logical conclusions arising from Consumer Product Safety Commission’s no-brass ruling:

The presence of brass in daily life is an immutable fact. If the CPSC bans brass in children’s products because of the idiotic CPSIA, NOTHING will eliminate the following uses of brass in the daily life of children:

  • House keys (good for sucking)
  • Doorknobs and locks (touching and licking?)
  • Plumbing fixtures and drinking fountains (touching and sucking)
  • Pipes to convey potable water (assuming those pipes aren’t made of pure lead)
  • Components in cell phones (definitely good for licking)
  • Clocks, antiques, artwork (touching)
  • Railings (licking)
  • Jewelry (sucking)
  • Guns and ammunition (no comment)
  • Tools (you can poke out an eye with a tool!)