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Andy Hoffman tells CPSIA whiners to “grow up”

Pop-Tarts ARE Supposed To Be for Kids, Right?
Creative Commons License photo credit: CarbonNYC

Over at, consumer advocate Andy Hoffman says that opponents to the CPSIA need to “grow up”.

I shared this comment with Andy on his blog, but just in case he doesn’t see fit to mark my comment as public, I’ll repost it here. Feel free to join in with your own reply.

Here’s what I had to say to Mr. Hoffman:

You’re only missing one little issue, Andy.

This isn’t about greedy business owners wanting to avoid the lead law.

In a lot of cases, its about stay at home moms who squeeze a second income out of their cottage business and use that as a way to enable them to stay home and be a mom to their kids prior to their kids entry to school.

Some have managed substantial success, doing more than just squeaking by.

These moms (and others) who manufacture organic cotton onesies, tshirts and so forth for infants (along with a litany of other stuff) quite often started making these things *because* of the crap that is sold at WalMart and elsewhere that was found wanting in the environmentally-kind department.

Before you think that I too am just another whiner throwing a tantrum – be aware that I dont own or work for a children’s products business and NONE of my clients are in that category.

What the uproar is really about is giving small businesses who dont have the economies of scale on their side a means of testing that doesnt put them out of business.

When you manufacture (which often means “sew”) something for $6 and tell it for $12, you cant afford to spend $57 to test it. Anyone can see that math isnt going to work.

The big thing that many miss about this law is that it isnt limited to impacting those who make, retail or resell children’s products: it’s the ripple effect throughout the economy from there.

All of those businesses use accountants, lawyers, graphic artists, web site geeks, and so on. All of them will be doing less of that.

To get a full image of the ripple, I suggest you read the post linked to above (in his blog form) and take note that 80% (yes, EIGHTY) percent of the people in the room were standing when I was done asking them to.

If 80% of the businesses in your area are affected by a law that could easily be altered, it might be in your best interest to look at it without wearing the jaundice-tinted Consumer Reports hat.

Small businesses aren’t asking for an exemption and they arent asking for a different set of rules.

All they are asking for is the ability to use the component testing performed by the manufacturer of the lot of cloth, vat of vinyl, etc.

That allows everyone using that lot (etc) to absorb the cost, rather than every manufacturer having to absorb the full cost of the test for every line of items they make from that bolt of cloth and so on.


Your turn: Pay a visit to and let Andy know how grown up you are.

14 replies on “Andy Hoffman tells CPSIA whiners to “grow up””

I couldn’t help but notice that Hoffman’s post is still showing 0 comments. I know at least three have been left, including mine. He probably won’t allow them past moderation, but hopefully we’ll give him an earful!

You must have been calmer than me when you wrote yours. Here’s what I wrote:
We have to remember that “Consumer’s” Union is conveniently not in the position where they have to work out actual compliance with the laws. It’s really easy to wave your wand and magically make laws workable when you’re not the one who has to do the work. And when you honestly believe the ones who do have to do the work are eeeeeevil businessmen in top hats and monocles rolling around on piles of money that they got by secretly replacing organic cotton with pure lead for years, you get to feel self-righteous to boot. I wonder what color the unicorns are in their world.

No matter how many times special interest groups say the law is workable or how strongly they word their statements or even how virtuous the speakers are, THIS LAW IS NOT WORKABLE. If there is any justice in the world, those groups that advocated for this law (and are still endorsing it even now that it’s becoming obvious how much this will devastate our economy in the middle of a recession!) will all rot in hell. With every ignorant word they speak they are taking food out of the mouths of my children. I spit on them.

I want my children to be safe, but I personally perceive greater danger to them from groups like “Consumer’s” Union and USPRIG (sic) and from laws like CPSIA than from lead-containing toys. I can teach them to avoid lead-containing toys, but I can’t protect them from power-grubbing self-righteous know-nothing do-gooders who have their hands down the pants of Congress.

Wacky Hermits last blog post..My Letter To Rep. Rush

Andy Kaufman, er Hoffman, is obviously walking around with his Tort Attorney blinders on. It’s kinda obvious from the organization’s name — Center for Justice and Democracy — that “social justice” is the primary factor in their thinking and not common sense. Organizations that have to include “democracy” in their names remind me of the former Soviet Union client states that all seemed to include that word (that meant nothing to them) in their Country name. His organization wants the Law enforced as written so that they can head to court and do what tort attorneys do, waste oxygen while getting rich on the backs of someone else.

If he was so secure in his position, why not show submitted comments? Maybe it’s because idealogues aren’t equipped to debate or countenance discussion of differing points of view.

In the meantime on Feb. 10th, thousands of small businesses and home based businesses will become criminals operating outside the Law IF they don’t cease and desist carving wooden toy trains or stringing ukuleles or sewing/embroidering Christening gowns!

Linking to inflammatory posts by authors who will then ignore commenters with counter-arguments and refuse to post their comments is troll feeding, plain and simple. No need to draw attention to idiocy when they won’t leave room for dialogue.


Perhaps. On the other hand, there is now at least one more search result with his name – one that disagrees with his contention. You should NEVER let the opponent do your positioning for you.

[…] friends) chimed in with the thought that critics of the law needed to â??grow upâ? (no, donâ??t bother commenting). CPSC Commissioner Thomas Moore, hewing to a similar line, blames the ongoing ruckus on […]

[…] the letters’ tone (examples of the sorts of letter CJD found too intimidating in tone to run: Mark Riffey, Olivia @ BabyCandyStore). Some other previously linked comments discussions: The Pump Handle […]

It occurs to me that you should give this Hoffman fellow a break. After all, this CPSIA thing has been a wil ride from the start.

Remember, originally, industry groups were pushing hard for greater regulation, including independent lead testing, in part because they wanted to run small businesses out of business.

It may be that his thumb-sucking remarks were aimed at the hypocritical bigger business groups–and not at the smaller folks at all. This has been a very fluid situation from the start. I mean Waldenberg is now cursing the CPSC (his former best friends) for giving the ATV crowd a delay. Seriously, everyone is saying inflammatory stuff. If only we could all just chill and start this conversation over.


Neither of those articles begins to prove your assertion that the industry’s support of lead laws is about putting the small toymaker out of business.

In fact, I find it hard to believe that Mattel, Hasbro and Lego (et al) even feel a pea under the mattress re: the small handmade toy manufacturers.

However, time will tell. Clearly those who wrote the law either did so with malice toward small business (doubtful) or didnt bother to think through the consequences of the actions of these laws (what I suspect is more likely).

As for Mr PopTort, he’ll get a break when he starts acting more like a blogger and less like a megaphone. One way communications is not what the web is about – particularly with blogs. That combined with his blog’s astroturfing (comments on his blog that HE wrote under his real name that are made to look as if they came from another person) make it pretty clear that he has little or no interest in the reasoned opinions of others.

Contrary opinions are fine. Making them in a vacuum is not. 1972 is over.

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