Good Intentions Run Amok

01.08.09 | 4 Comments

The title of my post is a pretty good description of government in general, but today I submit a new example.

A new federal regulation set to go into effect February 10 will prohibit or severely restrict the resale of children’s goods, including clothes and toys. Think about that for a few moments. No toy resale. No childrens clothing resale. No Goodwill.  How many families depend on resale shops to keep their kids clothed? How many wouldn’t get toys at Christmas or their birthdays?

I first became aware of the law through a local news article. A few moments with a search engine brought up a few other articles, although not nearly as many as one would expect considering the impact. The LA Times explains that the law is in response to the lead scare, and requires that all items sold for those aged 12 and younger, including clothing, be tested for lead and phthalates. If untested, the product can not be sold. “Those that haven’t been tested will be considered hazardous, regardless of whether they actually contain lead.” Testing can cost upwards of $1,000 per item.

This regulation, designed to protect children, will have the side effect of creating a new, huge mountain of waste in our landfills. It’s about as “anti-green” as you can get. It’s being called “National Bankrupcy Day” by the Wall Street Journal because it will force hundreds (okay, probably thousands) of thrift stores out of business. It’s going to add a new, significant expense to manufacturers of new items but it’s going to practically overnight it’s going to end an industry that serves the poor or those who just want to be thrifty.

Nobody wants to inadvertantly poison their children, but this step seems like amputating an arm to treat a papercut. If you’re still politically fired up after the election, how about putting some of that energy to use by telling your elected official to rethink the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.

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Comment by Kyle
2009-01-09 08:49:27

Oh my Lord….

I guess the black market for used baby clothes is going to skyrocket. Maybe I’ll get into it and retire to the Caymans.

“Hey, buddy. Wanna buy some Oshkosh??”

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Comment by Fred Hicks
2009-01-09 11:42:15

Clarifications were issued today that the law doesn’t apply to used toy resellers. That just leaves the small toymaker out in the dark, as opposed to giving him company with all of the charity organizations.

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Comment by Prest0
2009-01-09 12:06:57

I just read that too. That’s a huge relief. It’s still disgusting that the law was executed so broadly, but I’m glad the agency did the right thing with regard to the clarification.

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Comment by Christopher Clark
2009-01-09 13:20:47

We simply decided that none of our products would, in future, be recommended for anyone under the age of 13.

If the product is not intended for use by age 12 and lower, its not covered by the new law.

SHOULD some 10-year old miscreant improperly buy and play Fuzzy Heroes, blatantly ignoring the age appropriate declaration on its cover, there is little I can do about it, mores the pity.

Tiska, tiska.


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