Archive for the ‘CPSC’ Category

Capitalism, fiscal woes; contempt for economic liberty

November 9, 2008

There has always been contempt for economic liberty. Historically, our nation was an important, not complete, exception. It took the calamity of the Great Depression to bring about today’s level of restrictions on economic liberty. Now we have another government-created calamity that has the prospect of moving us even further away from economic liberty with the news media and pundits creating the perception that the current crisis can be blamed on capitalism.

We see comments such as those in the New York Times: “The United States  has a culture that celebrates laissez-faire capitalism as the economic ideal.” Or, “For 30 years, the nation’s political system has been tilted in favor of business deregulation and against new rules.” Another says, “Since 1997, Mr. Brown [the British prime minister] has been a powerful voice behind the Labor Party’s embrace of an American-style economic philosophy that was light on regulation.”

By Walter E. Williams
The Washington Times

First, let’s establish what laissez-faire capitalism is. Broadly defined, it is an economic system based on private ownership and control over of the means of production. Under laissez-faire capitalism, government activity is restricted to the protection of the individual’s rights against fraud, theft and the initiation of physical force.

Professor George Reisman has written a very insightful article on his blog titled “The Myth that Laissez Faire Is Responsible for Our Financial Crisis.” ( nsible.html) You can decide whether we have an unregulated laissez-faire economy. There are 15 Cabinet departments, nine of which control various aspects of the U.S. economy. They are the Departments of: Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Education, Energy, Labor, Agriculture, Commerce and Interior. In addition, there is the alphabet soup cluster of federal agencies such as: the IRS, the FRB and FDIC, the EPA, FDA, SEC, CFTC, NLRB, FTC, FCC, FERC, FEMA, FAA, CAA, INS, OHSA, CPSC, NHTSA, EEOC, BATF, DEA, NIH and NASA.

Here’s my question to you: Can one be sane and at the same time hold that ours is an unregulated laissez-faire economy? Better yet, tell me what a businessman, or for that matter you, can do that does not involve some kind of government regulation.

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More China Made Products Recalled as Toxic

November 21, 2007

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Consumer Product Safety Commission issued another batch of lead paint-related recalls of Chinese-made children’s products on Wednesday, including metal jewelry sold by discount retailers Family Dollar Stores and Big Lots Inc, and school supplies.

About 205,000 units of recalled jewelry were sold at Family Dollar stores from January 2003 through August 2007 under the Rachel Rose and Distinctly Basics brands, CPSC said in a statement.

Also recalled were about 43,000 Sparkle City charm bracelets and tack pin sets sold at Big Lots stores from August 2005 through April 2007 for about $1, the agency said.

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Peace and Freedom Group: November 20, 2007

November 20, 2007

Here’s a locator of our top posts for Tuesday, November 20, 2007:

On Peace and Freedom:

Pakistan: Musharraf Is the Problem

Feds urge vigilance on toy safety

Russia’s Putin: Wants NATO to Back Off; Says His Nuclear Forces are Ready

Six activists arrested in Vietnam, says dissident group

Thailand: Elephant Roundup!

Four new posts on “Peace and Freedom III”; these can be found at:

1. China urges Iran to abide by U.N. resolutions
2. Pakistan releases opposition supporters
3. Chinese Dam Projects Criticized for Their Human Costs
4. Southeast Asia Leaders Adopt Charter

And don’t forget to check out all the great reading at Peace and Freedom II (just scroll down from here):

Two primary topics today: China and American Culture/Society.


China’s Growing Inflation Woes Could Spur Price Hikes
In U.S.

Wen says China behind on pollution goals

Germany looks to Asia, at China’s expense

Calif Suing Toy Companies Caught Using Lead 

American Culture/Society:

Government study: Americans reading less

Vick Dog In Slammer; Wants a Mike Tyson Free Ride

U.S. Marine Lost in Vietnam Laid to Rest

Politically Incorrect: McCain Says It’s O.K. To Make People Mad

Downward mobility trend threatens black middle class

Calif Suing Toy Companies Caught Using Lead

November 19, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – California’s attorney general has field suit against 20 companies, claiming they sold toys containing “unlawful quantities of lead.”

The suit alleges that the companies — including Mattel and Toys “R” Us — knowingly exposed children to lead and failed to provide warning of the risk.

If the suit is successful, the complaint says the companies could pay a $2,500 fine for each violation.

The move follows major recalls of toys, lunch boxes, children’s jewelry and other goods during the last year by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in Washington.

The suit also names Wal-Mart, Target, Sears, KB Toys, Costco Wholesale and others as defendants.

A Mattel spokeswoman says the company had been expecting the action, and that it has already implemented a system of checks to make sure its quality and safety standards aren’t violated again.

The toys were made in China but the suit will apparently aledge that the toy companies and toy sellers were aware or should have been aware of Chinese business practices that did not measure up to U.S. standards.

Feds urge vigilance on toy safety

Almost 1/2 Million Toys Recalled

November 8, 2007

By CHRISTINE SIMMONS, Associated Press Writer

More than 405,000 children’s products made in China, most of them toy cars, were recalled Wednesday for containing dangerous levels of lead, a government safety group announced.

The recall includes about 380,000 Pull-Back Action Toy Cars imported by Dollar General Merchandising Inc. of Goodlettsville, Tenn., and 7,500 Dragster and Funny Car toys imported by International Sourcing Ltd. of Springfield, Mo.

Four of the recalled products were imported by Schylling Associates Inc. of Rowley, Mass., including the items Duck Family Collectable Wind-Up Toy, Dizzy Ducks Music Box, “Robot 2000” collectable tin robot and Winnie-the-Pooh Spinning Top. The company recalled another 66,000 spinning tops Aug. 22.

Representatives from Schylling Associates Inc. were not immediately available for comment.

Wednesday’s recalls include about 7,200 “Big Red” Wagons imported by Northern Tool & Equipment Co. of Burnsville, Minn. Totaling about 405,700, the recalled children’s products all had excessive levels of lead in their surface paint.

Although no illnesses connected to Wednesday’s recalls have been reported, lead is toxic if ingested by young children. Children’s products found to have more than 0.06 percent lead accessible to users are subject to a recall.

The latest recalls follow almost weekly announcements in the past several months of lead-contaminated products imported from China, many of them toys. Julie Vallese, spokeswoman for the Consumer Product Safety Commission, said the agency and the toy industry are still performing a top-to-bottom inventory of products in the marketplace to check for lead contamination.

“There’s are billions of toys coming in. … There’s a lot to go through,” Vallese said. “We don’t think we’ve seen the end of them. But we do feel confident the numbers will start going down.”

US lawmakers seek stiffer regulation of made-in-China toys; more recalls announced

November 1, 2007

by P. Parameswaran

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US legislators unveiled plans Tuesday for stiffer laws to regulate made-in-China toys after Halloween “treat” buckets and costume teeth became the latest tainted products from the Asian nation to be taken off American store shelves.

The Democratic-controlled Congress expects to introduce a wide-ranging toy and child product safety legislation in the “next few days,” said Bobby Rush, the head
of a House of Representatives panel on commerce, trade and consumer protection.

“We are in intense negotiations as we speak” to forge the Comprehensive Consumer Product Safety Bill, he told a news conference at Capitol Hill, where tainted China-made toys recalled in the run up to Halloween were prominently displayed.

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More China-Made Toys Recalled

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31 (UPI) — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the recall of Chinese-made Elite Operations Toys sold by Toys “R” Us because of high levels of lead.

About 16,000 sets of the toys were sold by Toys “R” Us or nationwide. Toys “R” Us initiated the recall when it learned the paint on the toys contained excessive levels of lead, in violation of the federal lead paint standard.

Four recalled military-style Elite Operations toys — manufactured by the Toy World Group Ltd.’s Chun Tat Toys Factory in Guangdong, China — were Super Rigs (product #1004), Command Patrol Center (#1020), Barracuda Helicopter (#1023), and 3 Pack, 8-inch Figures (#1024). The product number is located on the toy’s packaging.

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United States firms recall over 90,000 Taiwan, Vietnam-made toys

October 13, 2007

Saturday, October 13, 2007
By Natasha T. Metzler, AP

WASHINGTON — More than 90,000 children’s products, most imported by J.C. Penney Co. Inc., are being recalled for containing dangerous levels of lead, a government safety group announced.

J.C. Penney recalled Chinese-made Winnie the Pooh play sets and decorative ornaments with a horse theme, as well as art kits made in Taiwan and Vietnam. Totaling 70,400, the toys imported and sold by J.C. Penney all had excessive levels of lead in their surface paint.

Lead is toxic if ingested by young children. Under current regulations, children’s products found to have more than 0.06 percent lead accessible to users are subject to recall.

Consumer Product Safety Commission spokeswoman Julie Vallese said this round of toy recalls is “the direct result of the commitment that was made earlier this summer of cleaning the proverbial house.”

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Lead Paint Danger in China Toys Worse Than First Thought

September 20, 2007


Lead Paint Danger in Toys Worse Than First Thought Leaders of the agency responsible for protecting consumers from faulty products pleaded Wednesday with Congress to increase their budget and authority in the wake of huge recalls related to lead contamination.The testimony from Consumer Product Safety Commission officials came as El Segundo, Calif.-based Mattel Inc., producer of 1.5 million of the 13.2 million toys recalled in the past month, revealed that its tests found that lead levels in paint in recalled toys were as high as 110,000 parts per million, or nearly 200 times higher than the accepted safety ceiling of 600 parts per million.“We are all to blame” for a system that allowed children to be exposed to lead-tainted toys, CPSC Commissioner Thomas H. Moore said in the first of two days of hearings before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee. That includes, he said, “those who stood by and quietly acquiesced while the commission was being reduced to a weakened regulator.”Moore thanked lawmakers for rejecting a Bush administration budget proposal that would have required cutting full-time staff by 19 people, and urged Congress to pass legislation to give the agency better tools to protect consumers from product safety hazards.“Our small agency has been ignored by the Congress and the public for way too long,” said the CPSC’s acting chairman, Nancy A. Nord.

The agency was founded in 1973 with a staff of about 800. It currently employs about half that number, and Moore said it has about 15 people, out of a total field investigative staff of fewer than 90, to visit ports of entry to inspect the more than 15,000 product types under its jurisdiction.

The commission banned lead paint on toys and children’s furniture in 1978, but is not authorized under law to regulate lead in a product unless it may cause “substantial personal injury.” When ingested by children, lead can cause learning disabilities and behavioral problems.

Nord noted that the recalls, mainly of toys manufactured in China, have had the intended purpose of goading the entire toy industry into changing practices to prevent such violations in the future. It has also inspired the introduction of several bills to increase the authority and budget of the CPSC and better monitor imports from China.

“We must start with the CPSC,” said Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., chairman of the subcommittee overseeing consumer protection. “Is the commission capable of preventing these products from entering state commerce?”

Nord and Moore also pointed to an agreement reached with the agency’s Chinese counterpart last week under which China will immediately implement a plan to eliminate the use of lead paint on Chinese manufactured toys exported to the United States.

Mattel Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert A. Eckert, in prepared testimony, stressed the safety of the 800 million products the toy maker and its vendors manufacture every year. He also acknowledged that the company’s investigation revealed “that a few vendors, either deliberately or out of carelessness, circumvented our long-established safety standards and procedures.”

“These recent lead recalls have been a personal disappointment to me” and those working at Mattel, he said. “Those events have also called on us to act, and we have.”

But several members of the panel complained that Mattel blocked committee staff members from visiting its plants in China and talking to the Hong Kong executives who oversee those plants. “That’s a poor kind of cooperation to be afforded this committee and it will hardly be helpful in our relationship with the company,” said committee Chairman John Dingell, D-Mich.

On the Net:

Energy and Commerce Committee: