Regulatory Overkill?

The legislation to protect children from lead in toys and other products, however well-intentioned, is likely to cripple and even destroy hundreds of companies–especially small, home-based companies–whose products are perfectly safe. This from Evolving Excellence, who points out a number of practical problems with the legislation.

Problem #1: certification testing must be done by a lab on a “certified list”. This list isn’t exactly long, and their are hundreds of thousands of products. Guess what is happening to those labs: the waiting list for lab work extends out months and the cost per lab workup has gone from $200 to as much as $6000… per sample.

# Problem #2: testing must be done at the product level, not the component level. So a common component used in multiple types of products must be tested multiple times. What does this mean? Each SKU must be tested separately, even if they are virtually identical. One pair of jeans and a slightly different pair of jeans, both using the exact same raw denim, must be tested separately. See the video below, where a manufacturer of science kits has 40,000 SKU’s… and is looking at a $20 million dollar cost for initial certification testing. This is why many products, and companies, will simply cease to be sold.

These are only the first 2 of the 5 major problems that EE identifies with this legislation. Read the whole thing.

February 10, when this law take effect, is being referred to as national bankruptcy day.

Congresspeople talk endlessly about the need to “save good American manufacturing jobs”–but at the same time, they often pass legislation which is extremely damaging to the manufacturing sector, without bothering to take the trouble to understand what they are actually doing. And when it comes to small manufacturing companies whose employees do not represent substantial voting constituencies and whose managements do not represent a substantial source of campaign funds–there are many in Congress who do not really even care what happens to them.

Here’s an example of a toy which will no longer be available in the U.S. as a consequence of the new regulations. (via Glenn)

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