Horace Cooper

The NRDC was unsatisfied with the CPSC's decision, and began pressuring Congress to ban all phthalates, despite the scientific proof. But last summer, the Democratically-controlled Congress recognized there is no scientific basis for doing so. Congress passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) with a phthalates provision that was based on science and not politics. While the law bans a few phthalates that have shown potential health concerns, the law places only a temporary prohibition on safe phthalates like DINP, calling for more testing on these compounds to assure groups like the NRDC of their safety. But clearly scientific evidence won't stop the NRDC from trying to use the Courts to push their agenda.

The NRDC filed yet another lawsuit just this month in another effort to push their anti-phthalate agenda. This time the NRDC accuses the CPSC of failing to enforce the new phthalates legislation under Congress' intent. The NRDC claims the CPSC allowed retailers to sell "dangerous" toys during the Holiday season because the new legislation will not go into effect until February. But the phthalates in these toys were never found to be dangerous in the first place. The NRDC is dragging a government agency through an exhaustive lawsuit over a matter of weeks, when DINP has been used for decades!

Hopefully their fear tactics will fail again. One thing is clear, their cases against the CPSC is not likely to succeed. The FOIA rules are designed to give the public a window into the information used by their government, not to be used as a hammer to force the government to adopt the policies of special interest groups. And it was Congress' intent for dangerous toys to be taken off the shelves, not safe ones.

In a time when the economy is faltering and Wall Street is teetering, one would hope that we could put the brakes on the excesses of these groups, especially those misusing the courts for their own anti-technology agendas.

Horace Cooper

Horace Cooper is a legal commentator and a Senior Fellow with the Institute for Liberty.