Low Income Families Hurt By Ill-Conceived, Anti-China Consumer Safety Law

By Michael Barone, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

Blogger-lawyer-radio talk host Hugh Hewitt directs our attention in this column and in an earlier blog post to the unintended consequences of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008. It was passed in response to the presence of lead in toys manufactured in China--a genuine menace. But its broad terms, and the fact that it authorizes lawsuits by private lawyers, means that thrift shops are removing clothes from their shelves because they cannot rule out the infinitesimal possibility that the zippers contain lead. And it covers products intended for children up to age 12, even though 10-year-olds are not very likely to suck on their zippers. The result: low income families are going to have to pay more for their kids' clothes. And outfits like Goodwill and the Salvation Army are going to take a needless hit. Senator Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota's sole senator at the moment, played a major role in drafting the bill and now expresses puzzlement over its application. Maybe she and her colleagues should have thought more about this when they were getting positive news coverage for protecting innocent children.

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