Toy Police Recall Charm Bracelets Due to High Levels of a Substance Not Proven to Cause Harm

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a voluntary recall of the “Best Friends” Charm Bracelet Sets because the heart lock charms attached to the bracelets contain high levels of cadmium.  Without any scientific proof, the CPSC claims that cadmium is toxic if ingested by children and can cause adverse health effects.  The bracelets were imported by Claire’s Boutiques Inc., of Hoffman Estates, Ill. Description:  The “Best Friends” three bracelet sets are silver-colored chains with metal pendants containing one of the words “Best,” “Friends” or “Forever” and heart lock and key charms with different colored stones.  Incidents/Injuries: None reported.

CPSIA – Numbers Don’t Lie – Much Ado About Nothing

The Consumer Product Safety Information Act (CPSIA) is a terrible law that is costing American businesses billions of dollars and eliminating thousands of jobs – all in the name of protecting children from lead poisoning.  The law illustrates perfectly the problem with giving government too much power over our lives.  CPSIA over-regulates something that in reality is not a problem.  CPSIA’s purpose is to protect children from lead poisoning.

A recent study of 899 Consumer Product Safety Commission product recalls over an 11 year period found that only one child in that period died from lead poisoning attributable to the recalled products.  Why is the government regulating something that is statistically insignificant?  The answer is because that is what government does.  Government decides what is important and needs regulation and the facts be damned.  Government knows best and government will fix it for us.

Here are some of the findings of the study of CPSC recalls over 11 years:

  • Recalls: 899
  • Products Recalled: 3,128
  • Units Recalled: 308,697,297
  • Injuries to Kids from Recalled Products: 2,381
  • Deaths from Recalled Products: 35

The study also determined the cause of injuries and deaths:

  • Brake Failure 0, 0
  • Burns 74, 0
  • Cadmium 0, 0
  • Choking 150, 3
  • Collision 2, 0
  • Falling/entrapment 1803, 17
  • Fire hazard 4, 0
  • Illness 0, 0
  • Impalement 0, 0
  • Laceration 284, 0
  • Lead 3, 1
    [The only death from lead in 11 years]
  • Lead-in-paint 1, 0 [That’s right, ONE INJURY in 11 years, no deaths.]
  • Magnets 3, 0
  • Strangulation 26, 7
  • Suffocation 29, 7

It is a fact of life that children will be injured and killed in accidents while growing up.  It is not possible to protect all children from injuries and death.  What is the point in spending billings of dollars to “protect” so few children from injury and death?  Why doesn’t the government allocate our precious financial resources based in importance, i.e., preventing the most common causes of injuries and deaths rather than to obscure and numerically small causes?

The authors of SuperFreakonomics explain how media and people get caught up with terror as an isolated event without recognizing how rare the event actually is.  The book tells about a  2001 Time magazine cover story on shark attacks, a story the media loves to tell over and over.  Four people on the planet earth  with 6 billion people died from shark attacks in 2001.  Over the ten year period 1995 to 2005, an average of 6 people a year died from shark attacks worldwide.  Every year over 200 people are killed by elephants, but the media doesn’t write scare stories about elephant attacks.  Why sharks, but not elephants?

The media writes about shark attacks because it has shark attacks on the brain and statistical facts about the number of deaths only gets in the way of the story.  It’s the same with government.  It’s obsessed with lead poisoning and the facts be damned.  The CPSIA is the law that requires that all children’s products contain lower levels of lead than found in many common every day products.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s job is to enforce the law regardless of cost to the country or the consequences of a bad law.

According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2006, lead poisoning was not one of the ten leading causes of death in children under 10.  The leading causes of deaths of children under 10 were traffic accidents, suffocation, drowning and fire/burns.  Why is the government wasting money and effort on lead in children’s toys instead of trying to reduce the leading causes of children’s deaths and injuries?

See “CPSIA – Publishers HOWL Over Inadequate Waxman Amendment.” which discusses the stupidy of the CPSIA’s ban on lead in children’s books that has lead to the destruction of hundreds of thousands of harmless books because people cannot afford to pay the cost of testing the books for lead content.

CPSIA – The Myth of the “Common Toy Box”

Amend the CPSIA:  “If you wonder why Waxman and his staff won’t discuss a change to the age limits in the CPSIA, it’s their fear of the “common toy box”. They claim that unless a wide net is spread over children’s products, small children could be “affected” by the toys of older children in the same home.  It is absolutely outrageous that an urban myth could send thousands of businesses down the river and cost literally billions in compliance and regulatory expenses. While common toy boxes are not themselves a myth, their ability to cause bodily injury is certainly fantastic.”

Children’s Doll Maker Stops Making Dolls Because Cost to Test for Lead Would be $117,000

This story about the affect the toy police and the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act is from Consumer Product Safety Commissioner Anne Northup.  She says:

As a Kentuckian who knows how badly we need more jobs, it’s a shame to hear from a local hometown business who is genuinely trying to comply with the CPSIA, but finding that the costs are so great that they simply cannot afford the testing. Please read the letter I received below and if you have a similar story, email it to me at Commissioner_Northup@cpsc.gov.

Commissioner Northup printed parts of the letter in which a small children’s doll maker explains that it stopped making a line of dolls because it could not afford to pay $117,000 to test the dolls’ component parts for lead content.  The CPSIA prohibits the sale of any products to children if the product contains more than a super microscopic amount  of lead.

No Foolin’ Here – CPSC Issues Reasonable Definition of a “Children’s Product”

Consumer Product Safety Commissioner Anne M. Northup announced on her blog that the CPSC “adopted a rule that will become the only guidance companies will have (at least, in the form of an official rulemaking) in knowing whether the product they make is a ‘children’s product’ under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA)—or more specifically, a product ‘primarily intended for a child 12 years of age or younger.’  If a product meets this definition, it will be subject to all of the CPSIA’s costly requirements.”  See Commissioner Northup’s statement on this new rule in which she says:

“The stakes are particularly high in fleshing out this interpretive rule, considering the costs companies must incur if their products fall under the requirements of the new law. Companies whose products meet the new definition of “children’s product” will have to: 1) reengineer non-compliant products to meet the law’s lead content requirements, moving to essentially lead-free parts (a maximum of 100ppm lead) by next August; 2) pay to have the product or its components tested in a third-party lab; 3) pay to certify to the lead content requirements; 4) third-party test and certify after any material change to a product; 5) pay to have the product retested periodically; 6) put tracking labels on each product, including any periodic change in cohort information, and; 7) face, potentially, the highest penalties in the Commission’s history for violating any of these rules. What’s more, products subject to these requirements (e.g. a child’s school desk, lunchbox, zippers, or buttons) may violate the law’s arbitrary lead content limits, even though they would not pose a lead risk to children. In other words, a child’s normal interaction with these products still would never cause any measurable increase in the child’s blood lead level.”

Consumer Product Safety Commission Issues 52 Page Definition of “Children’s Product”

At long last the Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a proposed definition of the term “children’s product.”  The CPSC has been enforcing federal laws applicable to children’s products for years so it is nice that it finally may know one when it sees one.  Check out the new proposed definition, but first a warning – its 52 pages long.

Lead Police Recall Dangerous Bicycle Bells that Have Injured Nobody

Warning:  Do not let your kids eat any bicycle bells because the bells may contain lead.  If your child must eat bicycle bells, try to educate the kid to never eat the entire bell.  The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a voluntary recall of children’s red, black and white bicycle bells bells that have “I ♥ My Bike” printed on the top.  Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.  Hazard:  The red paint on the bicycle bells contains excessive lead levels, violating the federal lead paint standard.  Incidents/Injuries:  None reported.

Cadmium Police After Children’s Charm Bracelets

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is warning consumers that they should immediately stop using children’s metal charm bracelets.  Hazard: The bracelets contain high levels of cadmium. Laboratory analysis determined that following a 24-hour incubation in simulated stomach acid, over 20,000 micrograms of cadmium were released from the snowman alone. Cadmium can be toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health effects. Incidents/Injuries: None reported.

Toy Police Have an Unsupported Fear of Cadmium & Want to Ban it in Children’s Products

Recently the Associated Press ran a story about the metal content of a number of items of children’s jewelry made in China.  The AP tested some jewelry products and found that some of the items contained cadmium.  The article speculated that the manufacturers of these items substituted cadmium in place of lead because of the unrealistic minimum lead content requirement of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CSPIA).  The federal toy police, aka the Consumer Product Safety Commission, has been cracking down on companies that import and distribute or sell children’s products that do not meet the lead content testing requirements of the CSPIA.  Testing the lead content of every part of a children’s product is very expensive and impossible for many manufacturers of children’s products.  Many manufacturers cannot comply with the CSPIA and simply stop making children’s products.

Eight states are now considering banning excess levels of cadmium in children’s products.  These state are California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, and New York.  The only reason the states and the Consumer Product Safety Commission are considering regulating cadmium in children’s products is because of the January 2010 AP story.  From the beginning of recorded time up to the date of the AP story, the toy police haven’t cared the least about the level of cadmium in children’s products.  The reason nobody cared is because there are no scientific studies that have shown that “high levels” (what ever that is) of cadmium poses a danger to children who suck on products that contain cadmium.

Another Associated Press story called “N.J. Assembly bill tightens restrictions on toxic content in children’s jewelry,” makes the following unsupported allegation, “Cadmium is a known carcinogen, particularly when inhaled in a factory or other workplace.”  It then states, “The exact risks to adults aren’t clear because it typically takes long-term exposure to the metal to cause the diseases.”  The Handmade Toy Alliance CSPIA Blog says, “Cadmium, after all, is a naturally occurring element and is found in trace amounts in almost everything from carrots to carpet.”  See

Why Do Toy Police Want to Ban Rhinestones?

Amend the CPSIA:  “The Democrats apparently have it in for rhinestones and are so uptight about this ‘menace’ that they are willing to write an outright ban into the CPSIA, via Mr. Waxman’s new amendment.  No more bling for you!   Have we finally entered the land of the looneys? . . . . Chairman Tenenbaum has conceded in writing that the stones are not dangerous . . . .”

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