Saturday, October 3, 2009

The High Price of Protecting Kids

As a young parent I am part of the growing concern of toys with toxic lead and other chemicals in them. However, I have several small business friends who would immediately go out of business if they had to personally test the material they sold. Have they looked into having the large companies, that sell the material in the first place, test their own products? I think they need to start at the top where the material is being made instead of passing on the testing to the millions of individual business owner.

The High Price of Protecting Kids
After millions of toys were pulled from shelves because of lead contamination in 2007, Congress enacted a law requiring that many toys be tested for toxins. Now, some small-business owners fear those rules will ruin them. One woman told Congress recently that testing batches of her stuffed giraffes would raise the cost of each from about $15 to more than $200, while individual testing could increase the price to as much as $2000.

Rep. Jason Altmire (D., Pa.), chairman of the House Small Business Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, says the law empowers the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to enact common-sense rules that make it easier for small businesses to show that their products are safe. But the CPSC claims the law offers little flexibility, and the agency estimates the cost of compliance in the billions. “Protecting kids from contaminated products is our top priority,” says Altmire, “and there is going to be a cost to that. But to say every home business in the country has to ship its products for testing at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars was not the intent of the law.”
—J. Scott Orr

No comments: