Last week I received a letter from a father of a child with juvenile diabetes who told me of his efforts to raise money to support scientific research to prevent this terrible childhood disease. I will leave it to you to reach your own conclusions as to whether public health is benefited from his experience:
I have learned of the controversy surrounding the Consumer Product Safety laws regarding lead in children’s products. I wanted to bring to your attention a plan I had been developing to collect and market used denim jeans, with the proceeds to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). I have now learned that my planned sale of used denim jeans would be in violation of Consumer Product Safety laws as they relate to lead. I have therefore, halted all efforts to develop this charitable plan.
[Using] girl and boy scouts and local young people interested in community service, we…expected to raise several thousand dollars for the JDRF. Not huge sums of money -but denim jeans are a “renewable” resource. If successful, this effort could be renewed regularly in the same or different areas, communities and cities. The garments would be recycled (always a plus) and the JDRF, and other charities could financially benefit. It appeared to me to be a “win” for everybody.
Unfortunately, what I assume are unintended consequences have conspired to deny me the opportunity to make this effort. While it baffles me how this prohibition can be realistically justified, I respect that it is the law and I will of course, make no attempt to pursue this charitable endeavor…”.
In a world of scarce resources, we have to be smart about the requirements that are imposed on the public. I question whether the health benefit, if any, from prohibiting sale of used kids jeans offset those flowing from efforts like that described above but which do not pass muster under CPSIA.