Wednesday, January 14, 2009

World Ends; Women And Minorities Hardest Hit

...So goes the old joke. CPSIA was supposedly written with minorities in mind; it even includes a section entitled "STUDY OF PREVENTABLE INJURIES AND DEATHS IN MINORITY CHILDREN RELATED TO CONSUMER PRODUCTS" (Section 107). Here is a partial list of minorities that will be hard hit by CPSIA. If you can think of others, please add them in the comments.

  • English language learners, including adults. My mom runs a program that teaches Hispanic parents to read to their children, first in Spanish, then later in English. She advocates the use of children's books by adults to help them learn to read English alongside their youngsters. Her program has hard statistical evidence that it works. But many of these parents can't afford even cheap Scholastic books, so libraries are essential to them. Sadly, libraries are threatened by CPSIA.
  • Autistic children. Children with autism spectrum disorders often benefit greatly from the use of products like weighted vests and blankets, special sensory swings, pencil grips, inflated seat cushions, "Chewlery" (jewelry safe for them to chew on to satisfy oral sensory needs), and many other occupational therapy items. The earlier the intervention, the greater the benefit; there's no way a person of conscience can advocate that autistic children go without therapy until the age of 13. There is only a tiny market for these items, and items that are made in small quantities are among the most endangered because the added cost of testing prices them out of the market.
  • Native Americans. Powwow regalia for children is handmade, with dozens of different types of beads. These items are custom made by the most skilled seamstresses and craftsmen. Wasn't it enough that we drove them out of their homelands, made them live on desolate reservations, and took their kids away from their families? Now we have to limit participation in their culture to people 13 and over too?
  • Disabled people. Many disabled people have at-home businesses making crafts for children, and a few own stores where they can have a manager take over for them when they're not feeling well (I say "a few own stores" because 90% of disabled people live below the poverty line). It's tough to find a job if you're disabled. Many disabilities eat into your ability to work a full 40 hour week, your stamina to finish a shift, or your ability to keep a steady schedule. People with MS, fibromyalgia, bipolar disorder, and other conditions that flare up may find themselves unable to keep a job because they never know when they're going to have to call in sick to work, and employers need to be able to rely on their employees to keep their schedule. And disability payments take months to kick in, and when they do they aren't much to live on.
Add your contribution to the list in the comments.