“Lead Paint: All Over but the Lawsuits,” By James R. Copland.
As if California and its municipalities were not already making life difficult for businesses and taxpayers, the Golden State’s courts could pile on too. On July 15, a trial began in San Jose, in which seven California counties (Santa Clara, Alameda, Los Angeles, Monterey, San Mateo, Solano and Ventura) and three cities (Oakland, San Diego and San Francisco) are suing five companies that once manufactured paint containing lead. The lawsuit alleges that these companies’ sale of lead-based paint created a “public nuisance” and that such companies should pay the municipalities a total of $1.4 billion for the cost of “abating” the problem — in essence, to support government-led efforts to find and replace all lead paint from older buildings. Read the full article in the Los Angeles Times.
“Lead Paint: All Over but the Lawsuits,” By James R. Copland.
“CPSIA’s Fifth Anniversary,” by Nancy Nord.
On August 14, 2008, Congress passed and the President signed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). It contained new regulatory authorities and enforcement tools (many of which I suggested to Congress when I served as acting chairman) to make it easier for CPSC to find and recall unsafe products made around the world. Five years ago today, the agency began to follow through on my pledge to implement the law fully and fairly. Unfortunately, as time progressed and the Commission expanded, that has not always been the path the agency has taken.
“Environmental Scaremongers Strike Again,” by Center for Consumer Freedom.
In the past we’ve covered the so-called “Campaign for Safe Cosmetics,” (CSC) an environmentalist scare spinoff of the Environmental Working Group (perhaps better billed the “Environmental Worry Group”). EWG is so prone to overblowing fears of chemicals that 79 percent of members of the Society of Toxicology surveyed thought EWG overstated chemical risks, so it’s understandable that CSC, its corporate child, is hyping a study that found certain heavy metals in lipstick and other makeup. Read the full article on the Center for Consumer Freedom website.
“Top Ten Chemical Scares of 2012,” by Angela Logomasini
This past year, there must have been thousands of green-group-inspired news stories hyping risks regarding numerous chemicals. Regulators too have engaged in efforts to demonize various products unfairly, placing them on “concern” lists and demanding that companies expend enormous amounts of money to study, test, and re-study chemicals that have been safely used for decades. Below is my top-ten list of 2012 green alarms along with links to stories that debunk the junk claims. Read the full article on the IWF’s Inkwell blog.
“Have You Decorated Your Home With Poisons For Christmas?” by Emily Willingham.
Here’s a holiday manufrightroversy to watch for: Lead and pesticides … for Christmas! Every year, it seems, reporters go forth on orders from their editors to write articles warning the world of the dangers of Christmas decorations. One example from 2010 is this USA Today piece by Liz Szabo, “Advice on avoiding a toxic Christmas.” But here’s the rub: There are very limited to no data to show ill effects, in spite of the yearly spate of stories. Read the full article on Forbes.com.
“Unruly Lead Paint Rule,” by Angela Logomasini
The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform recently released an interesting report on regulatory impediments to job creation. Among the items discussed is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standard related to remodeling homes that contain lead-based paint. The standard requires contractors to test pre-1978-built homes for lead paint and then apply certain safety practices if they find it. It also requires contractors to take classes and gain certifications to work in homes with lead paint. A provision originally allowed homeowners with no children or pregnant women in the home to opt-out of testing, etc., but the Obama EPA eliminated that provision even though lead only poses risks to children under six who are exposed to relatively high amounts over a period of time.
There are many problems with the standard, but perhaps the most obnoxious is the fact that it encourages people to either break the law by hiring non-certified contractors or to avoid using professionals altogether. Accordingly, rather than improve safety, it simply harms small businesses that are working hard to be good citizens by complying with the law. The Committee report explains:
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) adds that the removal of the opt-out provision “ha[s] led homeowners to explore using ‘underground’ contractors that do not comply with the EPA’s requirements at all.” Indeed, a survey conducted by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry shows that 77 percent of homeowners are avoiding the rule by doing remodeling work on their own, or hiring a non-certified contractor to perform the work. Therefore, the rule may be increasing the risk of exposure to lead paint, as well as negatively affecting certified contractors’ ability to compete. As evidence, the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association states that “legitimate businesses complying with the LRRP rule cannot compete for much needed work against non-compliant contractors that, ironically, lack the training to actually perform lead-safe renovations and prevent lead hazard exposures.” The Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy comments that “[r]eform of the expensive requirements of the current LRRP rule continues to be one of the highest priorities of the small business community.” This is unsurprising as the opt-out provision had saved the industry approximately $500 million in compliance costs.
Image credit: Tall Chris on Flickr.
“Lead Paint Rule All Wet,” By Angela Logomasini.
How the EPA is killing the home remodeling industry with their rules governing homes with lead paint. Read more in Pajamas Media.
“Unexceptional Ruling on Lead Paint,” by Angela Logomasini.
Homeowners seeking to do renovations on pre-1978-built homes will continue to pay extra because of the EPA’s lead paint rule — and a federal court has ruled that there will be no exceptions. On June 22, a federal court upheld the Obama administration’s elimination of “opt-out” provisions under the original regulation issued by the Bush administration. As a result, many consumers will pay high costs for little benefit … Read the full article on OpenMarket.org.
“Get even more lead out”: CDC, By American Council on Science and Health.
For the first time in over 20 years, the CDC has redefined the “level of concern” for lead levels in children’s blood. The agency, in a statement released Wednesday, has lowered this level from 10 mcg/dL to 5 mcg/dL; now children whose blood levels exceed the latter concentration will be identified as “living or staying for long periods in environments that expose them to lead hazards.” What’s more, the CDC has now asserted that any level of lead in the blood, even below 5 mcg/dL, is a potential health hazard. But this new recommendation goes a step further than simply lowering the level of concern. Read the full story in ACSH Dispatch.