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Jan 30, 2009

Stop the Death from Quilts and Food

Flowery Fall Baby Rag Quilt
01/17/09 - Overlawyered by Walter Olson
The price of a quilted baby comforter will go from $58 to $3,530 to cover the required testing under the new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).

Scrap The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act
01/16/09 - Forbes.com by Walter Olson

[edited] CPSIA is a calamity for businesses and an epic failure of regulation. It threatens to wipe out tens of thousands of small makers of children's items from coast to coast. It particularly eliminates items which are handcrafted and creative, and the sideline, home business, and struggling retailers which make and sell them.
In Order To Save The Children, We Must Destroy Industries
01/28/09 - LiveJournal by Evan Dorkin
[edited] The impact of CPSIA will be nothing short of devastating for many small businesses, home-crafters, DIY-ers, toy manufacturers, clothing manufacturers, re-sellers, used clothing shops, thrift shops, and so on and so forth. And also, libraries, book stores and yeah, comic shops.

Because a ton of stuff is being lumped together under this act, which will require expensive product testing for anything deemed "for children". Children's clothes, books, comics, school supplies, toys, costumes, need I go on? And second-hand items, clothes, toys, books, back issues, etc. It doesn't end once you start thinking about it. And, in fact, it gets worse, because it affects inventory.

Petition to reconsider the CPSIA
If you want to support craft industries and small producers, you can add your voice to the petition at the above link. It is a very short form. When you click "Sign the Petition", you are directed to a page where iPetitions asks for a donation. You are added to the petition regardless of any contribution you might make.

CPSIA and compliance: “This can’t be happening”
07/11/09 - OverLawyered by Walter Olson

An article in the Arizona Republic reports the difficulties compling with the CPSIA:

  • a Scottsdale diaper maker,
  • a Chandler toy maker has spent $400,000 on compliance with no end in sight,
  • a baby carrier maker that expects to go under, and
  • a maker of fabric products who can’t keep up with changing requirements.

See also related posts at the link about the destruction from this regulation.

CPSIA - Current Reading
08/24/09 - OverLawyered by Walter Olson

Commentaries on this dreadful child-safety law. In particular:

Favors From the CPSC
04/24/10 - Hot Air by Ed Morrissey
Via Instapundit

[edited]  Mattel imported toys from China two years ago contaminated with lead paint. This prompted Congress to pass the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), requiring extensive independent testing of all products sold or resold for children. The new regulations put small manufacturers and thrift shops out of business, due to the onerous costs of testing. But, Mattel has received waivers to reduce their costs of testing.

This is a perfect example of crony capitalism, where the government picks winners and losers through legislation sympathetic to big business. Then, the enforcement mechanism extends that favor. Mattel can push its smaller competitors out of business, or force them into buyouts. This is a result of Mattel breaking the law in the first place.

Big business often shapes regulation to its advantage when it cannot stop it from being imposed, and continues this shaping through persistent lobbying in following years.

Goodbye to Locally Processed Meats
05/27/10 - Cato@Liberty by Walter Olson

Joe Cloud is a small meat processor in Virginia [edited]:

Changes in national food regulation make it difficult for small plants to stay in business. In 2000, small USDA-inspected slaughter and processing plants were required to adopt the costly Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) food safety plan. There are estimates that more than 20% of those plants went out of business.

Now, proposed changes to HACCP threaten to take down many of the ones that remain, making healthy, local meats a rare commodity.

Walter Olson [edited]:

Recently, major food and agribusiness firms are supporting a major new round of federal food safety regulation, despite warnings that it could pose big compliance challenges for many local bakers, fruit-baggers, and other small providers, whether or not their products pose any notable risks.

There is a typical and depressing pattern here.

Major producers may not at first want more regulation, but they find the end result hurts their competitors, so they shape the regulations to their needs rather than simply oppose them. The regulators want to make policy in the simplest way, rather than deal with the complexities of the smaller producers. There is no requirement that the regulations meet any cost-benefit standards. Ironically, the regulations may be appropriate to safety in a large processing line, but overkill for a smaller producer.

Smaller producers creating a wide variety of products in smaller batches are driven out of business. This process creates industries dominated by a few large corporations, exactly what Liberals say they do not want in society. Food becomes less interesting, less regional, and the industry employs fewer people.

Water Quality - Too Much Safety
12/08/09 - DailyMail blog by Don Surber - A comment by Old School Conservative

[edited] I ran a drinking water treatment plant for 20 years, and am responsible for one as a village administrator. I have had EPA knuckleheads look me right in the eye and say "I don’t care how much it costs I want ZERO risk".

Zero risk is one of the dumbest goals ever set. EPA spends billions and forces municipalities to spend billons on the zero risk fad of the moment.

In the 1970’s, grad students started studying trihalomethanes, a group of organic chemicals that result from chlorine disinfection. They found that rats developed mutations and tumors at dosages thousands of times greater than any human would get if he/she drank 100 gallons of water a day for 80 years. On this research, EPA regulated THM’s to 150 ppm, 100 ppm, 80 ppm, then 80 ppm as measured at the very worst case in the system, a dead end main.

Milwaukee had an outbreak of water borne disease a few years ago. The news media crucified the city, but didn’t tell the underlying story. The city experimented with new treatment chemicals and low chlorine levels aimed at meeting stringent limits for THM's. There is NO definitive research that proves 80 ppm of THM’s has saved one life or that it is one bit safer than 100 ppm. The whole fiasco has been a lot like AGW.

I don't trust the government. The federal regulatory community is filled with power hungry, incompetent enviro-lunatics. Many of them would starve if they had to make a living in the private sector. They will destroy us as an economic power.

I want to do my part for promoting safety by breaking the news about the ongoing dangers of preparing and eating food:

Food Related Illness and Death in the US
Sept 1999 - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by Paul S. Mead and others

[edited] We analyzed information from surveillance systems and other sources. We estimate that food borne disease causes about 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths in the United States each year (1999).

Known pathogens account for 14 million illnesses, 60,000 hospitalizations, and 1,800 deaths. Salmonella, Listeria, and Toxoplasma are responsible for 1,500 deaths each year, more than 75% of those caused by known pathogens.

Unknown agents account for the remaining 62 million illnesses, 265,000 hospitalizations, and 3,200 deaths. Overall, food borne diseases appear to cause more illnesses but fewer deaths than previously estimated.

As head of the US Food Protection Agency (UFPA) (satire), I have issued the following regulations to be implemented within one month. Space limits us to listing only a small selection here:

  • All persons and especially children (APEC) should limit their intake of fresh food. If they must eat fresh food, frozen samples must be retained for later analysis in case of illness. A written food diary (FD) is required under penalties of SS 23, Para 12(b).
  • Fresh food shall be boiled for 20 minutes before consuming, including all fruits, vegetables, legumes, meats, and "other". This includes lettuce, tomatoes, and bread.
  • Food that has been deep fried, canned, or pickled is generally considered safe, but the labels must be recorded in the FD (under the usual penalties).
  • No restaurant, food pantry, warehouse, snack bar, food cart, church social, or home kitchen shall prepare food unless and until it receives an UFPA Inspection of Safety (UFPAIS), repeated at intervals of 3 months. Inspections will include a review of washing and sanitizing regimens, per SS 25, Para 3(c-f). The cost of inspections will be billed to the inspected site.
  • MikeDonalds, Burger Prince, and Wanders's have been pre-approved as Generally Recognized as Safe Food Providers (GRSFPs). Other large and regulate'able business will be added to this list as their applications and fees are processed. [remove in final draft - what about lobbyist contacts? -remove].
  • Establishments known as "Chinese Restaurants" are hereby prohibited, without reconsideration or appeal.
  • Food shall not be exchanged, traded, or shared, to limit the effect of any contamination.
  • There is no "three second rule" regarding dropped food.

The illness and death must stop. Food is too vital and dangerous a material to remain any longer in the hands of amateurs, without detailed government review and inspection.

Watch out when you eat.
If possible, don't.

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