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Your Yard Sale is Now Regulated by CPSIA and the Federal Government!

Welcome Reason, Hot Air and Free Republic readers! Apart from this post, you may want to read our other posts on the CPSIA. You may also want to follow us on Twitter. Don't forget to Digg this post with the Share This widget at the bottom of the story. Word needs to get out about this!

Just to follow up on my last post which many people won't read because they don't think they are retailers, I thought it would be good to point out that the federal government now considers your garage sale a "small business" and you, yes YOU, sitting in your folding chair on your driveway, a "retailer".

If you had told me that the federal government was going to be regulating garage sales three years ago, I would have said "you must be having flash backs to 1970's Eastern Europe". There's no way the federal government would have the audacity to be that intrusive into something so miniscule.

Well, welcome to a federal government that the Founding Fathers would have risen up in arms against:

This handbook will help sellers of used products identify types of potentially hazardous products that could harm children or others. CPSC’s laws and regulations apply to anyone who sells or distributes consumer products. This includes thrift stores, consignment stores, charities, and individuals holding yard sales and flea markets.

Maybe you didn't really care about the law before because it was only putting small retailers and work at home moms out of business. Hopefully you will care about it now that you can be slapped with a $100,000 fine for selling your kids' old books at a yard sale.

{ 18 comments… add one }

18 comments
george
george

You know ppl who have yard sales are doing us all a favor, by recycling,geting wat we need for cheap,and not letting allot of this stuff hit are land fills,whats the big deal really couple a bucks they make for the trouble they go thew setting up there sale really let them and all the power to them.goverment, smutherment leave em alone.

Michael Fuller
Michael Fuller

Deputyheadmistress, my initial contention was NOT: that books are actually dangerous so it was reasonable in your view for the handbook to defend banning their sale, it was The handbook identifies those products with known risks and helps a potential vendor (or purchaser) know which products are NOT SAFE TO SELL. And it does so in a reasonable, non-aggressive, helpful way.. And I stand by that. Deputyheadmistress, you ask: And explain why it is reasonable and legal for the CPSC to regulate neighborhood yard sales for selling pre-1985 books, plastic toys, or jackets with zippers. and Ian, you state: You missed my distinction between Federal and State law. Frankly, I'm not interested in debating constitutional issues, etc here; that is a different topic unrelated to my original statement re. the merits of the handbooks. As I think that there's a bit too much misrepresentation of each other's words here, and prefer to avoid the slide into patronising and ad hominem debate, I'll not engage further, thank you. Deputypostmistress (love that handle!) and others, you have made your position well and truly clear, and despite your muddying attempts, I think mine is too: regardless of the rights and wrongs of sub-elements of the CPSIA, regardless of the merits of nanny states vs libertarianism; regardless of one's view on the role of state vs federal governments, the handbook OVERALL is a good resource that can educate would-be buyers and would-be sellers on what is and is not considered safe. You disagree.

Deputyheadmistress
Deputyheadmistress

. You say that because the law is bad, the handbook must be bad. No, Michael. That is not what I said. The LAST thing I said was that the handbook is a reflection of a very bad law, but you continue (for understandable reasons) to avoid defending your initial contention that books are actually dangerous so it was reasonable in your view for the handbook to defend banning their sale. You defended the handbook on the basis that it identified products that are actually dangerous. My first comment was in reply to that, when I asked you a very simple question, which you continue to refuse to answer. I asked you to explain "why it is not safe to sell books published before 1985. Please tell us which children have been harmed by these products." Your answer was a long and utterly irrelevant rant about the effects of lead, which appears, incidentally, as though it came straight from the talking points of PIRG and Public Citizen types. But it didn't answer the question, nor could it any way prove that it was reasonable of the CPSC to identify pre-1985 books as dangerous to sell, because, as I believe you know, there is no evidence that any child has ever been harmed by lead in a book. There is no evidence that would support the CPSC's contention that it would be dangerous to sell pre-1985 children's books. There is nothing reasonable about such a claim. I would also say the handbook is bad for putting yard sales under federal jurisdiction. Yard sales are not interstate commerce, so the CPSC should have no jurisdiction over them in this matter. And I said: " As for this ‘excellent’ handbook- The very next paragraph in this new handbook to help thrift stores and other sellers of used products understand how to comply with the law illustrates the sort of mindset we’re dealing with: “…as a business person, you do not want to knowingly sell products that have the potential to cause harm to anyone, especially a child.” Throwing a yard sale makes you a dangerous business person, and you don’t want to sell anything with even the potential to cause harm to anyone. Got that? And what does that leave? Everything has the ‘potential’ to cause harm." Saying that a business person would not knowingly wish to sell anything with the "Potential" to cause harm to "anyone" is a silly and foolish statement, because EVERYTHING has the potential to harm SOMEBODY. So please, as I and others have asked from the beginning, defend your proposition that it is reasonable to ban pre-1985 children's books. Give us some evidence that there is an actual process whereby lead in the ink in a few illustrations has transferred from the substrate of a few pages in a book to a child's blood stream. And explain why it is reasonable and legal for the CPSC to regulate neighborhood yard sales for selling pre-1985 books, plastic toys, or jackets with zippers.

Ian
Ian

Michael: You missed my distinction between Federal and State law. The FEDERAL government has no business being involved in seat belt laws. That's not its job. If a state government wants to pass seat belt laws or mandate a specific car color, that's the state's business.

Michael Fuller
Michael Fuller

Fair enough, Ian; looks like we will have to disagree, then. (But I will point out that while _I_ don't need a law telling me to buckle my children up, others _do_. And who suffers as a result? Not the reckless or uninformed adult, but the child. Is it the role of government to protect that child? I think so. You apparently do not. You see such laws as an abridgment of adult freedoms; I see their absence as an abrogation of moral duty.) Deputyheadmistress: I've already conceded that some parts of the CPSIA may be questionable. Where we disagree is on the handbook. You say that because the law is bad, the handbook must be bad. I disagree: regardless of the details of the CPSIA,the overall content of the handbook is valuable.

Deputyheadmistress
Deputyheadmistress

If I were you, I'd rather talk about seat belts and pool laws, too Michael. No child, ever, anywhere, has been shown to have elevated lead levels from a book. No mechanism has been shown whereby a child COULD get elevated lead levels from a book. It wouldn't be enough to lick a book (saliva proves not to be an effective mechanism). It wouldn't be enough to chew a book, because most toddlers, in fact, ALL toddlers I have ever seen, chew the corners of a book, whereas those books that do have lead in them (which is not that many), generally have it in an illustration here or there, or part of one. It's not like the book was soaked in lead. A child would have to EAT multiple books, devour them, to even *possibly* get any elevation of lead in the blood levels- and, again, you are unable to name a single example of this happening. So is the CDC. So is the CPSC. and yet, still, an item that has NO history of every resulting in elevated blood levels is now illegal to sell or distribute (your library is breaking the law) to children as old as 12. It's not a good law. The handbook is a reflection of that.

Ian
Ian

Michael: You still haven't answered the question: Where is there any proof that lead in books has led to an elevated level of lead in any child, ever? Actually, yes, I do oppose seat belt laws. That isn't the government's business on a federal level. Yes, I also don't think that federal laws concerning pool fencing or outflow drains have any business existing. It isn't what our federal government is for. If a state government wants to create a nanny state for all of its citizens, then anyone who wants that kind of government control is welcome to live there. Do you need a law to keep your pool safe? Do you need a law to tell you to buckle up your kids? If you do, I feel sorry for you.

Michael Fuller
Michael Fuller

> Furthermore, it is YOUR job to stop your toddler from eating books, > not the government’s And indeed I do my utmost to keep my children alive. But small children chew stuff and no parent can maintain 100% visual contact for 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So part of any parent's strategy is relying on their environment being safe. Do you oppose laws requiring pools be fenced? That toys likely to be interesting to under-threes not have chokable components? etc? Such laws have been demonstrated (through falling numbers of deaths) to be an effective way of saving the lives of children. Do you also oppose seat belt laws? DUI laws? THAT is the slope you are going down when you make statements such as "it is YOUR job [...] not the government’s". > (if you even have a toddler, which I doubt). Thanks for calling me a liar in such a polite way; nice. For your information, yes, I do. Two, as a matter of fact. Michael

Deputyheadmistress
Deputyheadmistress

Speaking of disingenuous- Yes, Michael, lead can do all those things. But you must believe in magic. To harm children, lead has to actually enter their blood stream- they need to eat it, ingest it, inhale it, absorb it- there has to be some mechanism whereby it transfers from point A to point B. There is NO evidence, as in ZERO, that any child of any age has ever been harmed by the lead in a book. Few books have been found to contain lead, those found typically have it in an illustration or two, or only part of the illustration (a red dress on a cover illustration, for instance). Furthermore, lead ink in books becomes part of the substrate. And while you disingenuously tell us we should tell your toddler to stop eating his books, this law isn't just about toddlers. It was, initially. But the special interest groups changed that, convincing Congress to raise the age to 12. Ten year olds do not eat their books, and very few toddlers, in fact, none in the history of science, eat enough of a book to raise their blood lead levels. Furthermore, it is YOUR job to stop your toddler from eating books, not the government's (if you even have a toddler, which I doubt). As for this 'excellent' handbook- The very next paragraph in this new handbook to help thrift stores and other sellers of used products understand how to comply with the law illustrates the sort of mindset we're dealing with: "...as a business person, you do not want to knowingly sell products that have the potential to cause harm to anyone, especially a child." Throwing a yard sale makes you a dangerous business person, and you don't want to sell anything with even the potential to cause harm to anyone. Got that? And what does that leave? Everything has the 'potential' to cause harm.

Ian
Ian

Michael: can you provide ANY record of lead from a standard book causing any kind of problem in children? And Michael, I agree, the handbook is very useful. For showing the insanity of our government.

Michael Fuller
Michael Fuller

cmmjaime: Draw a distinction between the handbook and the CPSIA. The merits of some parts of the CPSIA may be questionable. But the handbook itself is a _good_ resource. ZZMike: "I would also suggest that children read the books, not eat them." Excellent advice. Now if you can just convince my toddlers ... Deputyheadmistress: I'm not a proponent of the CPSIA, but your point is ingenuous. The ban on pre-1985 children's books is because a few? some? many? pre-1985 books used ink that contains lead. But I'm sure you knew that, and also exactly why lead is such a no-no. "Low level lead poisoning makes kids dumb and aggressive. " To quote snopes.com's article on the CPSIA" Lead poisoning can lower intelligence, cause mental retardation, memory problems, depression, fatigue, hyperactivity, aggression, hearing loss, liver or kidney damage, osteoporosis, high blood pressure and anemia. Very high levels can damage the nervous system, kidneys and major organs and even result in seizures or death. It can also lead to infertility in men and cause spontaneous abortion in women. In the final stages of lead poisoning, the victim experiences convulsions, paralysis, blindness, delusions, and then coma. People can and have died of lead poisoning. Children are especially susceptible to its ill effects. (I'm surprised snopes didn't also cite the stunning research that demostrated the appaling correlation b/n lead and crime rates e.g. reported at USA today.) But I've gone off track: regardless of the CPSIA, the handbook is a good resource. Cheers!

Deputyheadmistress
Deputyheadmistress

Michael, please explain to us why it is not safe to sell books published before 1985. Please tell us which children have been harmed by these products.

cmmjaime
cmmjaime

There is nothing reasonable about this law, or dangerous about most of the products that have suddenly become illegal under CPSIA! Toys, books, clothes, etc for children up to age 12! Please. Kids are done chewing on those things by what, age 3? And the definition of a manufacturer: "Anyone who makes, produces or assembles a product is considered to be a manufacturer." I can put together several perfectly safe, perfectly sheets of paper, file folders, and library pockets and call it a Lapbook Kit. Now I've come under CPSIA -- and all the testing and labeling requirements -- for a $6 item. And that's just one of 1000's of such examples. No, contrary to your response, Michael, this law is toxic -- not the products it regulates!

ZZMike
ZZMike

"... which products are NOT SAFE TO SELL. And it does so in a reasonable, non-aggressive, helpful way." I would say rather, a heavy-handed way. I would also suggest that children read the books, not eat them.

Ian
Ian

Michael, you obviously haven't been following the discussion about this law on any blogs. The demands of the CPSIA are not "reasonable". Please tell me how testing every component of a product and then having to test the finished product again in every size and color you make is reasonable? Does lead spontaneously generate? How about the motorcycle industry? They've been given a reprieve but what is reasonable about banning kids motorbikes for lead content? Do you know of any injury related to kids eating their motorcycles?

Michael Fuller
Michael Fuller

Before anyone supports Katherine's view, I suggest you read the handbook. Children needlessly die every year from badly designed, dangerous products. The handbook identifies those products with known risks and helps a potential vendor (or purchaser) know which products are NOT SAFE TO SELL. And it does so in a reasonable, non-aggressive, helpful way.

Carl
Carl

Your Poll needs one more choice ... * Come and Get Me! The world is a dangerous place, not because of those of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing. ---Albert Einstein

Gina
Gina

So put it online for consumers beware. Don't threaten an american passtime with $100,000 fines. You people don't mind losing your freedoms one by one. No smoking, no big gulps , no garage sales...Eventually it will be no alchohol, limits on electricity used per household,etc . Everyone that looks the other way because maybe you don't smoke or drink or maybe you don't care about big gulps. Eventually the bell will toll for a freedom you do hold dear and by that time you will have lost your freedom to COMPLAIN ABOUT IT !!

Trackbacks

  1. Planning Any Criminal Activity This Weekend?...

    Say, the criminal sale of old, nearly worthless crap?...

  2. Blogs says:

    Your yard sale is illegal...

    Everything you need to know about over-arching government regulation of every aspect of our lives can...

  3. [...] It’s not as there isn’t abundant evidence available. It keeps piling up. For example, from The Musings of a Catholic Bookstore blog, “Your Yard Sale is Now Regulated by CPSIA and the Federal Government!“ [...]

  4. [...] This handy 28-pager from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reminds the American people that, thanks to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (which I have blogged about here and here), the government is totally in charge of your yard sale… [...]

  5. [...] Safety Improvement Act (which I have blogged about here and here), the government is totally in charge of your yard sale:This handbook will help sellers of used products identify types of potentially hazardous products [...]

  6. [...] along with commercial sellers and resellers indicates a desire to go in that direction. And from Your Yard Sale is Now Regulated by CPSIA and the Federal Government! ? Musings From a Catholic Books... Your Yard Sale is Now Regulated by CPSIA and the Federal Government! in CATHOLIC RETAILING TIPS [...]

  7. [...] This handy 28-pager from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reminds the American people that, thanks to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (which I have blogged about here and here), the government is totally in charge of your yard sale… [...]

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