Last August an economic time bomb called the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) was tossed into the struggling US economy, with little consideration for its eventual consequences. Legitimate concern about little children being poisoned by the made-in-China toys they put in their mouths has led to a law that threatens more businesses than you could imagine... certainly more than Congress, evidently, could imagine.
It's humbling to realize how unconnected we can all remain in this age of unprecedented communication and interaction; had you ever heard of this story, this legislation, before this week? I hadn't. As shocked as I was to read about the unforeseen damage it is doing to libraries, where books published before 1985 are now deemed "poisonous" due to the lead they contain in their ink, it seems that libraries and bookstores may be getting off easy compared to other businesses, such as the off-road vehicle industry:
The sport of off-highway recreation is seriously threatened by recent legislation that imposes strict lead content guidelines on children's everyday toys. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) has effectively banned the sale of youth off-highway vehicles (OHVs). The AMA is calling for action now to help reverse the potentially devastating effect this could have on the sport of OHV recreation.
"The unavailability of youth OHVs will devastate family OHV recreation and cripple amateur competition, creating a domino effect across all aspects of motorized recreation," said AMA Vice President for Government Relations Ed Moreland.
A Rapid City, South Dakota newspaper interviewed baffled retailers who have to adapt to well-meaning Congressional legislation that threatens to destroy their livelihoods. The road to hell is paved with legislation like the CPSIA..:
The Safety Improvement Act prohibits children's products from having more than 600 parts per million of lead. The new regulations affect the sales of children's toys, cribs and even clothing, but dealers just recently learned that it also affects dirt bikes.
The American Motorcycle Association reports that engines, brakes, suspensions, batteries and other mechanical parts in such vehicles often contain small amounts of lead. Combined, however, the level reaches the restricted amount.
The regulations affect bikes up to 85cc in size, most designed for children younger than 12. An estimated 100,000 such bikes were sold last year. People who own such bikes will be allowed to keep them, but lead-free parts needed for future repair may be hard to come by, said Pete terHorst, a spokesman for the AMA.
TerHorst calls the restrictions on off-road vehicles for children "ridiculous," saying it's difficult to imagine how a child would ingest the lead found in the internal parts of a dirt bike.
He said the AMA also is bothered by the short notice given to manufacturers and dealers. "There was no practical time to react to this."
[Dick Schieffer, owner of Sturgis Yamaha, BMW, Suzuki] said he learned about 30 days ago that the law would affect his business. Last week, he removed at least 20 vehicles from his showroom. Schieffer said he isn't even sure where the lead is on the vehicles he removed. "I wish I could tell you," he said.
Wade Rice, general manager of Rice Honda in Rapid City, was forced to remove $60,000 in merchandise from his store. He also had only a month's notice.
"It's totally ridiculous," he said of the regulation. "A 12-year-old is not going to chew on a bike, ... and toddlers are not going to ride a bike."
[hat tip to Overlawyered]