Ordinary brass contains about 2% lead. This is in part because ordinary brass is made with ordinary zinc, and ordinary zinc contains some lead because zinc and lead tend to occur together in the ore bodies. It costs a lot to remove the lead, and it’s not necessarily desirable in any case, because the lead improves the machinability of the brass (which otherwise is rather susceptible to chatter.)
Of course, saving money on refining and machining brass should not take priority over protecting the health of children. Assuming, of course, that the health risk is not so small that the money spent would be better spent increasing overall wealth (which has proven health benefits for children.) It appears that, in fact, the health risk of lead in ordinary brass is utterly negligible.
So why did CPSC adopt this moronic ban? Some members of the committee were remarkably candid:
…The Commission has now very clearly determined that we do not have the flexibility under the law to make common sense decisions with respect to lead.
In other words, Congress has mandated by law that we act like flaming idiots.
…I am especially concerned about what this decision means for our schools, where brass is found on desk hinges, coat hooks, locker pulls and many other items. Are schools now going to be forced to remove all brass and if so, who will bear this financial burden?
Duh. Of course schools wil now start removing all brass and of course the costs will be borne by the property owners being taxed to support the school districts.
Stupid should hurt more. Yet our Congresscritters are not in any obvious pain.
In related news, CPSC has declined to order the closing of the sixth bolgia of the eighth circle of Hell, citing lack of jurisdiction. It is rumored Congressmen with a conflict of interest had put pressure on CPSC to order the closure.