Monday, January 12, 2009

What are Lawmakers Thinking?

“Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny.” -Edmund Burke

Once again our leaders have rushed legislation into law without thinking things through. I am a grandmother. I want nothing more than to be sure toys and books are made out of safe materials for my grandson. But the passed Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 is not the answer.

Evidently our lawmakers in their infinite wisdom have decided to put the onus of the safety of books onto the author and publisher and NOT the entity that produces the actual product. This is insane. I do not write children’s books, but as an author I know that once the manuscript is out of my hands, it is…well, out of my hands.

What their law means is that publishers and/or authors must pay fees in order to prove that each book published complies with the federally mandated requirements for lead and phthalate. Small companies and their authors cannot afford to pay $110 for an initial test for one batch of one title, and then up to $500 or more for a thorough test. This law will put authors and publishers out of business.

The printers are the people that produce the actual book. However, they don't have to provide any proof of testing and safety while they are the ones that have control over the materials used in books. Does this make sense to you?

Holly Jahangiri has written several excellent pieces on this legislation on her blog Do I Have to Spell it Out. Please stop by for a more in depth perspective.

I agree with their intention to keep our children safe but their way of going about it is ridiculous. What you can do is write to your elected officials and ask that this law be repealed and rewritten.

I think there may be a simple solution to this problem – ban imports from China until they can get their act together and quit producing products that kill people, babies, and pets. Mexico has banned the import of Chinese products so why can’t we?

What are your views on this legislation? What solutions do you have for solving this problem?

Thanks for stopping by.

Tags: Edmund Burke, Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, legislation, Lawmakers, Chinese imports,


Anonymous said...

Solution? I don't have it. Appreciation for your raising the question and asking for answers? You got that.

Great post. The kind of post that makes one have to think and act.

Will do. Both.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Joy said...

I totally agree with you. The end product isn't where the testing should be done. Printers should get the certifications from their material suppliers which is where the problem, if there is a problem, is originated.
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Anonymous said...

I get the feeling Feb. 10 is going to be a dark day for the publishing industry. It really stinks that small American businesses are getting punished because the larger companies just buy cheap stuff from China. Most of my publishers now use local American companies where they can actually travel and see the product being made.

The ONLY good thing I can see coming from this is perhaps a bigger push towards green publishing in the near future. But that should've been a more gradual process driven by consumer demand rather than government intervention, especially since the publishing industry by and large complies already with safety standards.

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