Ugly Teeth and consumer protection

Another sign the monkeys are running the zoo is the news that the head of consumer protection doesn’t want consumer protection.

The top official for consumer product safety has asked Congress in recent days to reject legislation that would strengthen the agency that polices thousands of consumer goods, from toys to tools.

On the eve of an important Senate committee meeting to consider the legislation, Nancy A. Nord, the acting chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, has asked lawmakers in two letters not to approve the bulk of legislation that would increase the agency’s authority, double its budget and sharply increase its dwindling staff.

Ms. Nord opposes provisions that would increase the maximum penalties for safety violations and make it easier for the government to make public reports of faulty products, protect industry whistleblowers and prosecute executives of companies that willfully violate laws.

The measure is an effort to buttress an agency that has been under siege because of a raft of tainted and dangerous products manufactured both domestically and abroad. In the last two months alone, more than 13 million toys have been recalled after tests indicated lead levels of almost 200 times the safety ceiling.

Ms. Nord, who before joining the agency had been a lawyer at Eastman Kodak and an official at the United States Chamber of Commerce, criticized the measure in letters sent late last week and this afternoon to the Democratic leaders of the committee. She was critical, for instance, of a provision to ban lead from all toys. She said that the proposal to raise the potential penalty to $100 million “may have the undesired consequence of firms, as a precautionary measure, flooding the agency with virtually every consumer complaint and incident.”

Now, match this news with the latest news on Halloween plastic teeth.

Based on the inquiries by CBS News and the complaint filed with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there is now an official investigation into why some “Ugly Teeth” have levels of lead 100 times beyond the legal limit.

There are thousands of these fake teeth, which have been purchased in the past few days as part of the ghoulish outfits of tiny trick-or-treaters around the country. Lead is dangerous if ingested, and extremely dangerous to small children.

The proportion of products that Professor Jeff Weidenhamer found to have high lead levels is what troubled him. Out of 56 Halloween-related products he tested, he found six to have levels between four and 130 times what is allowable. All 6 of the products with these problems were made in China.

I love the irony.

The teeth are supposed to make you look stupid. The irony is, with all the lead in them, they may actually make you stupid.

How fortunate we are that we have yet another incompetent or downright crooked Bush appointee in place to ensure that our critical regulatory agencies don’t do their jobs.


  1. Geez, with inane garbage like that coming from the head of a major government agency, you’d think the Bush administration was trying to destroy any sense of accountability that the government might have towards anyone but Big Business.

    But this is America… things like that don’t happen in America.

  2. No, you have it all wrong. Remember the Reagan mantra: “Government is the problem”? The entire Bush administration is an attempt to demonstrate that government is the problem because government doesn’t and can’t do anything. That justifies dismantling every regulatory agency, thus freeing business to do whatever the hell they want. They prefer that businesses have the legal right to poison kids.

  3. How fortunate we are that we have yet another incompetent or downright crooked Bush appointee in place to ensure that our critical regulatory agencies don’t do their jobs.

    Downright crooked? Come on now, it’s the president’s prerogative to place friends of industry in oversight and management positions. Any chance that incompetence is being confused with malice?

    I saw on the telly that there’s only one toy safety tester at the CPSC to oversee $22+B worth of annual toy sales and imports. Sounds about right, no?

    NANCY NORD, ACTING CHAIRWOMAN, CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION: If the Congress gives me more resources, I would welcome those resources. But I want to make sure that the resources we have, that the people we hire are the right resources, the right people.

    ROMANS: Her staff today is half what it was in 1980. There is only one full-time toy tester. […] That last point, also, the chairwoman is against. She says that her agency doesn’t have the capacity or the experience to be able to handle what could be a flood of whistle-blowers.

    Now, to me that sounds like due diligence. You wouldn’t want to hire people that are the wrong resources for the job, like say, someone that places consumers and safety above business interests. You’ve got to take your time to fill those positions, and if need be, you need to be brave enough to leave them vacant.

    I don’t really know what Lou Dobbs’ political orientation is because he seems to be mainly on the anti-immigration, anti-communist platform, but he’s definitely not a libertarian either. I’m just putting him the in the category of cranky over-the-toppedness with interesting stories that make me laugh (if you can stomach some of the nuttiness that goes along with it).

  4. I saw a news broadcast by the woman in charge of the CPSC. She sounded reasonable when she said that she opposed increased authority without the necessary funding increase to back up the additional authority.

    But there many irrational Bush haters who simply ignore facts to further bash Bush. Because there are so many reasons to bash Bush that are factual, people who bash Bush over things like this have proven that they are irrational and not to be trusted.

  5. She was on Washington Journal on C-SPAN this very morning talking about these issues.

  6. “Sounded reasonable?” Many of them do. They are quite good at it. But saying and doing are different things.

  7. Really hope you are joking Mike, because otherwise we have a version of Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde here, or maybe some strange version of Glenda the Good Witch and here sister the evil witch of the south. I mean, its certainly ironically appropriate for Halloween to have a schizophrenics CPSC head, but you know… One would kind of hope it was a play act, *for* Halloween, not a real case of evil twins/multiple personality disorder, with one of the personalities being batshit insane. lol

    Or did you really miss the fact that this is the ***same*** person undermining her own prior statements, by trying to stop Congress from giving her the money to, “If the Congress gives me more resources, I would welcome those resources. But I want to make sure that the resources we have, that the people we hire are the right resources, the right people.” Apparently, the “wrong” people are any people she has money to actually pay to do their jobs, as apposed to the invisible people under her desk that telepathically tell her which products are safe (and don’t need pay checks)?

  8. Well, this is a surprise!

    The chief of the Consumer Product Safety Commission and her predecessor have taken dozens of trips at the expense of the toy, appliance and children’s furniture industries and others they regulate, according to internal records obtained by The Washington Post.

    Some of the trips were sponsored by lobbying groups and lawyers representing the makers of products linked to consumer hazards.

    Will the liberal MSM stop at nothing?

  9. thanks for bog

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