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Safety Commission To Rule On Safety of Rulers In Science Kits

samzenpus posted about 4 years ago | from the won't-someone-please-think-of-the-rulers dept.

Education 446

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has been trying decide for weeks if science kits designed to teach children are safe enough for children to use without vigorous testing. It's not just the chemicals or sharp items in the kits that they are troubled with however. They are also concerned about the dangers of paper clips, magnets, and rulers. From the article: "Science kit makers asked for a testing exemption for the paper clips and other materials. The commission declined to grant them a blanket waiver as part of the guidance the agency approved Wednesday on a 3-2 vote." To be fair, paper clips can cause a lot of damage — just look at what Clippy did to Microsoft Office.

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Can't you simulate a chemistry set with software? (0, Troll)

sinrakin (782827) | about 4 years ago | (#33748232)

What do you need actual chemicals and stuff for, not to mention rulers and paper clips? Why not just a "My Science Kit" app, and do virtual experiments? Although I guess you could drop the PC on your foot or something, which could also be dangerous.

Re:Can't you simulate a chemistry set with softwar (3, Insightful)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 4 years ago | (#33748324)

If rulers are too dangerous for these guys, just stop for a moment and think about how dangerous a keyboard or a mouse could be. It could never happen.

Re:Can't you simulate a chemistry set with softwar (2, Insightful)

QuantumLeaper (607189) | about 4 years ago | (#33748540)

How about those nasty things called Pencils? You can stab someone with them, I know someone who fell down and stabbed themselves, I still remember the ambulance they called.

Re:Can't you simulate a chemistry set with softwar (3, Funny)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | about 4 years ago | (#33748636)

It's all fun and games until somebody is garroted by a peripheral cable... all the more reason to go wireless I suppose. But then you have hazardous batteries and nutjobs who think that very low power radio transmitters are going to give them cancer. You just can't win.

Re:Can't you simulate a chemistry set with softwar (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#33748354)

Because where is the fun in that? See, chemistry sets are designed to encourage children to pursue science. If you are just doing it on the computer, why not just play a FPS on the computer? It doesn't teach kids to really explore or to think like a scientist.

The Consumer Product Safety commission should only be concerned about things that are really hazards when used correctly or things that are easily used incorrectly, for example, lead based paint on children's toys, yeah thats a real concern. The fact that some children -might- -possibly- use some materials in a science kit and get hurt is nearly non-existent.

The more we regulate science kits and lose children's natural curiosity in the world around us by essentially telling them that anyplace other than indoors watching TV and doing a bit of exercise on the treadmill is going to kill them, the more we can watch the US slip further and further into the dark ages...

Re:Can't you simulate a chemistry set with softwar (-1, Troll)

jridley (9305) | about 4 years ago | (#33748492)

whoosh

Re:Can't you simulate a chemistry set with softwar (1, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 years ago | (#33748562)

Important degrees are for the rich. The kids that go to private schools that are not restricted to fischer-price education.

Public school is for the factory workers, trained to say "yes" and do whatever they are told.

Re:Can't you simulate a chemistry set with softwar (0)

tsa (15680) | about 4 years ago | (#33748710)

That's where you're wrong. All kinds of kids go to public schools, so they also have to give good education.

Re:Can't you simulate a chemistry set with softwar (1)

Hylandr (813770) | about 4 years ago | (#33748908)

Enraging,

But true.

- Dan.

Re:Can't you simulate a chemistry set with softwar (5, Insightful)

azmodean+1 (1328653) | about 4 years ago | (#33748774)

The Consumer Product Safety commission should only be concerned about things that are really hazards when used correctly or things that are easily used incorrectly, for example, lead based paint on children's toys, yeah thats a real concern. The fact that some children -might- -possibly- use some materials in a science kit and get hurt is nearly non-existent.

Surprise! That is exactly what this is about, but the commission is being stupid. The makers of the science kits are bundling ordinary objects like rulers, paper clips, etc in their kits, and the commission is saying that they have to have a testing regime in place that tests everything that goes into the kits for lead and other toxic chemicals because it is arguably marketed to kids. The solution will be that the kit makers will stop making science kits, even something completely innocuous like "how magnetism works kit", because the burden of testing everything that goes into the kits outweighs the potential profit.

There was a very similar story a while back about low-powered motorcycles marketed to kids that had lead in the ENGINE. The end result looked like it was going to just destroy the market for the product simply on the basis that there was lead in it, regardless of the fact that even if a child disassembled the engine and ate the part in question, it was present in an alloy that would not release the lead into the child's system.

What the story is really about is the committee trying to make their mandate apply to absolutely everything, regardless of whether it had any real chance of causing damage to children.

Re:Can't you simulate a chemistry set with softwar (3, Insightful)

AhabTheArab (798575) | about 4 years ago | (#33748792)

The more we regulate science kits and lose children's natural curiosity in the world around us by essentially telling them that anyplace other than indoors watching TV and doing a bit of exercise on the treadmill is going to kill them, the more we can watch the US slip further and further into the dark ages...

That's what the powers that be want. You think they want us to explore things for ourselves? To LEARN on our own without relying on the government to tell us what is fact and what is fiction? No, they want us to punch in, punch out, then go home and watch TV and be told what's going on.

Re:Can't you simulate a chemistry set with softwar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33748356)

Computers are dangerous, they're filled with carcinogenic compounds and god forbid if the computer is connected to the Intertubes. There's PORN on the Intertubes and the children will be scarred for life if they see naked people and they will treat women with disrespect from thereon. Not to mention all the millions upon millions of pedophiles on the Intertubes just waiting to snatch up all the children.

Re:Can't you simulate a chemistry set with softwar (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 4 years ago | (#33748364)

Probably. The only problem is you don't get a feeling for it actually happening in front of your eyes when you start playing. I kinda remember my first kit, about half of it was full of highly dangerous and toxic chemicals that would have been banned today. But I learned a lot.

Maybe it was because I understood that if I ate the copper sulfate it would have been a moderately bad idea. Well that and my parents taught me to be responsible, and you know...read the instruction booklet.

Re:Can't you simulate a chemistry set with softwar (1)

Schadrach (1042952) | about 4 years ago | (#33748676)

Bah, copper sulfate isn't *that* dangerous. At least not when we're talking 60g in 3.78L of water, using an additional 20mL of 70% sulfuric acid to help it dissolve. At that point you're really almost to "just don't drink it or use it as eyewash, and wash your hands after use" -- it's also nifty for detecting unalloyed iron contamination, dunno what else it reacts with offhand though.

Re:Can't you simulate a chemistry set with softwar (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33748418)

What do you need actual chemicals and stuff for, not to mention rulers and paper clips? Why not just a "My Science Kit" app, and do virtual experiments? Although I guess you could drop the PC on your foot or something, which could also be dangerous.

Because chemistry is real and software isn't.

for suitable values of woo woo... (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 4 years ago | (#33748638)

some would argue that software is real [wolframscience.com] , chemistry isn't.

Re:Can't you simulate a chemistry set with softwar (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | about 4 years ago | (#33748684)

That word doesn't mean what you think it means.

Re:Can't you simulate a chemistry set with softwar (2, Insightful)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | about 4 years ago | (#33748420)

For the same reason most people prefer sex with a real partner as opposed to jerking-off to porn?

Re:Can't you simulate a chemistry set with softwar (4, Insightful)

snowraver1 (1052510) | about 4 years ago | (#33748426)

As someone who has played with software based labs, it doesn't compare to the real thing. It's one thing to click on two test tubes and have a thrid change color, but it entirely different to see the color change in real life as you add the reagents.

Science used to be cool because it was exciting. Small explosions, corrosive chemicals, and chemical reactions are cool, clicking some buttons on a computer program to simulate this is lame. If you want kids to like science, it needs to be (somewhat) dangerous. Schools should be encouraging thinking (ie. fire is hot so don't burn yourself, don't drink/touch hydrochloric acid, etc). If a few kids get hurt, well, hopefully they at least learned something, even if that something is that science can be dangerous.

Re:Can't you simulate a chemistry set with softwar (4, Interesting)

AkiraRoberts (1097025) | about 4 years ago | (#33748780)

I agree. Real explosions are fun. Real fire is fun. I still remember the day in 7th grade when we were finally allowed to use bunsen burners. It is in my top 10, despite losing an eyebrow. I think the danger of getting hurt or, in rare cases that probably involve doing something deeply stupid that might well disqualify you from the gene pool, killed are outweighed by just how a) fun and b) useful learning science can be.

And rulers? Rulers? Are you fucking kidding me?

Re:Can't you simulate a chemistry set with softwar (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 years ago | (#33748528)

I prefer hands on science class...

Lesson one electricity... Kids on your desk is a fork, grab the fork and go find the nearest electrical outlet. Tell me what you discover...

"teacher! Johnny stuck the fork in the outlet 6 times now... he giggles when he get's shocked!"

Thank you sally.... Johnny, you are being sent to the special class...

your homework children is to learn about hot.. find something hot and tell me what you learn about it.

Re:Can't you simulate a chemistry set with softwar (2, Funny)

mysidia (191772) | about 4 years ago | (#33748640)

Just wait 'til you get to the chapter on Darwin and Natural Selection?

Re:Can't you simulate a chemistry set with softwar (1)

frodo from middle ea (602941) | about 4 years ago | (#33748582)

Are you being serious or sarcastic ? I can't even tell any more.

Re:Can't you simulate a chemistry set with softwar (3, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 4 years ago | (#33748648)

I think that the issue of kid safety actually is something that stops kids from learning because they are in an environment so pampered that they get completely lost whenever they have to leave home.

Of course kids hurt themselves now and then. It's part of the process, but as long as the injuries aren't permanent then it's experience gained.

But from a tin foil hat perspective it may be that all these "kid safety" issues are put in place just so that they can learn how to be a good consumer and not try to understand how things works.

Re:Can't you simulate a chemistry set with softwar (2, Insightful)

kheldan (1460303) | about 4 years ago | (#33748756)

I believe that to be a rediculous concept. What we should be doing is teaching kids the proper awe and respect for potentially dangerous things, and once they've had that impressed on them, teach them how to handle those things properly.

Re:Can't you simulate a chemistry set with softwar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33748758)

Or better:
You write the name of each reactant on a piece of paper.

Then you say that they react and put them back into the box and place a piece with the result instead.

The paper must be made of the same material as 'edible panties'.

I am going to patent this.

Re:Can't you simulate a chemistry set with softwar (2, Insightful)

digitig (1056110) | about 4 years ago | (#33748830)

And just how is software going to help you learn what hydrogen sulphide smells like?

Wont somebody please think of the children! (1)

InsertWittyNameHere (1438813) | about 4 years ago | (#33748234)

It's not like we have better things to do than make sure every child receives a rounded ruler!

Re:Wont somebody please think of the children! (1)

eln (21727) | about 4 years ago | (#33748628)

It's not like we have better things to do than make sure every child receives a rounded ruler!

Why would anyone want a ruler that was only 10 inches long?

So does anyone wonder (4, Insightful)

Just_Say_Duhhh (1318603) | about 4 years ago | (#33748236)

why the poor science education [newsfactor.com] in the United States is such a big problem?

Re:So does anyone wonder (5, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 4 years ago | (#33748344)

Not really. We have a nanny state that is hell bent on protecting the idiots and children from all the evils of the world,while neglecting to remember that the nanny state itself is evil.

When we realize that the nanny state is just as evil as everything it is trying to protect us from, then we'll truly be free ... again.

People in Ivory Towers always love to treat everyone else like idiots needing their superior guidance. Because we're too stupid to function in a society without their wisdom and knowledge.

Re:So does anyone wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33748916)

Really mods?

Troll? It may be ugly but sometimes the truth hurts.

Re:So does anyone wonder (-1, Troll)

Guppy06 (410832) | about 4 years ago | (#33748630)

I think it has less to do with consumer product safety concerns and more to do with using Genesis as a science textbook.

Knowledge ruled dangerous (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33748242)

It's only a matter of time before the commission realizes that a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing, bans science kits outright, and starts going after books.

Re:Knowledge ruled dangerous (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33748748)

It's only a matter of time before the commission realizes that a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing, bans science kits outright, and starts going after books.

They already do.

The term is "hate speech".

And people wonder why the US is falling behind (5, Insightful)

ncttrnl (773936) | about 4 years ago | (#33748248)

If our kids aren't smart enough to use a ruler without injury, what can we really expect them to learn?

Re:And people wonder why the US is falling behind (4, Funny)

Ltap (1572175) | about 4 years ago | (#33748302)

A better question might be: "Is our children learning?"

Re:And people wonder why the US is falling behind (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | about 4 years ago | (#33748466)

If our kids aren't smart enough to use a ruler without injury, what can we really expect them to learn?

Quick and easy nitroglycerin production?

Re:And people wonder why the US is falling behind (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 years ago | (#33748690)

Actually stuff like that... Yes I made nitroglycerin in my dad's garage... is what drove my interest in chemistry and what made me get a degree in chemistry.

Problem is they dont tell you that a chemist's job is boring as hell. 90% of all chemistry degrees at the BS level = glorified gopher. I gave up and went for EE and CS after 5 years of wasting time in a lab.

Spending (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33748514)

At the top of the pyramid, it hardly matters what you spend the money on. Nor does it matter whether your "goal" succeeds or fails, or indeed, whether your "goal" even makes sense.

What matters is that the money passes through your hands. The bigger your cash flow, the better your chance to exploit that cash flow for personal gain.

There's a reason why every year government spends more, borrows more, and seizes more power over the people, and it's not because expanding the business of government is unprofitable for those at the top.

Re:And people wonder why the US is falling behind (4, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | about 4 years ago | (#33748712)

Our product safety commission apparently can't understand the difference between learning tools for children and toys for physical play.

A toy for physical play is something designed for a young child to throw around or manipulate mechanically.

Tools for learning are things like books, pens, paper, pencils, paperclips, markers, scissors, knives, protracters, compasses, hole punches, staplers, paper cutters, syringes, beakers, test tubes, etc.

Tools for learning are not for physical play. Children need to learn and be able to use them, even though they would be dangerous if misused.

Re:And people wonder why the US is falling behind (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 4 years ago | (#33748840)

If our kids aren't smart enough to use a ruler without injury, what can we really expect them to learn?

Certainly, I remember going being in elementary school and my favorite cutting tool was the metal edge on the then-standard wood-with-metal-edge rulers, which cut paper very nearly as well as a razor blade and could be quite dangerous misused. While its not necessary for a ruler to be constructed that way (there are other kinds of rulers), and while there are certainly legitimate uses for that particular feature, I wouldn't say that a ruler is the kind of thing that ought to be categorically excluded from consideration of whether or not it is designed and constructed in a manner which is appropriately safe given the intended use of the product it is contained in, including the target market.

And note that the issue here isn't the CPSC saying that any of the components are dangerous or inappropriate, only that they have declined to grant a waiver exempting them from existing safety testing requirements.

Just look at what Clippy did to MS Office... (1)

Faatal (1907534) | about 4 years ago | (#33748252)

Just look at what Clippy did to MS Office... That line is epic.

Fucking magnets... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33748254)

How DO they work?

Buy Now! (1)

chiph (523845) | about 4 years ago | (#33748260)

Now comes with Science Rock !

Re:Buy Now! (2, Funny)

sureshot007 (1406703) | about 4 years ago | (#33748398)

Now comes with Science Rock !

* Warning - Science Rock is not for use with actual science.

Does this mean... (4, Funny)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | about 4 years ago | (#33748280)

....that the "My First Meth Lab" is probably never going to reach store shelves?

Some rulers are dangerous (5, Funny)

Storebj0rn (692884) | about 4 years ago | (#33748314)

It's clearly irresponsible to expose kids to some rulers; Saddam Hussein, Joseph Stalin and under certain conditions George W Bush

Re:Some rulers are dangerous (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33748586)

Yeah our current ruler is sharp as a whip...

Can't the Clippy Jokes Die? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33748328)

Seriously, it is so hacky and keep making old and outdated jokes about Clippy and and BSODs, can you people just ever let anything go?

Of course, I'm on a site that still uses the Bill Gates Borg icon, so i guess not.

50's chemistry kit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33748342)

My grandmother gave me a chemistry kit from the 50's. It had a huge bottle of Potassium Cholorate, a big bottle of Ammonia Nitrate, among other dangerous chemicals. Those were the days...

Maybe chemistry sets should just contain a couple of sponges (must be too large to stuff in mouth). It's the only way to protect the children.

Re:50's chemistry kit (5, Interesting)

symes (835608) | about 4 years ago | (#33748600)

This is an important point - and I wonder if anyone has every bothered to investigate whether a bit of risky fun early in life is more likely to interest kids in science than teaching them from a rather dull text book. When I was a kid a bunch of us went on a school trip to a nuclear power reactor. When we visited the control room the senior engineer took us to a panel, turned a dial and made us watch as a temperature guage moved upwards - he had moved the control rod up out of the stack. He explained what was going on, we were all facinated, and then said he ought to put it back or the alarms might go off and he might get in trouble. Ok, not a chemistry set, but it highlights how engaging a bit of real world experimentation can be. I can't imagine kids these days could even get close to insides of a reactor, let alone play with control rods. Those were the days...

Sloppy (3, Funny)

symes (835608) | about 4 years ago | (#33748350)

I must say that I find the concerns raised by the Consumer Product Safety Commission to be lacking. They haven't, for example, considered the considerable harms posed by the science kits manual itself. The risk of a paper cut is considerable.

Re:Sloppy (1)

CaptainLard (1902452) | about 4 years ago | (#33748442)

"Okay. Now, everyone take out your safety pencil and a circle of paper."

- Simpsons of course

Kids today are coddled pussies. (3, Insightful)

bobdotorg (598873) | about 4 years ago | (#33748358)

The only reason we have safe laboratories today is because in the 1970's, science kits killed the careless ones.

Hell, even our playgrounds weeded out the stupid. [reoiv.com]

Re:Kids today are coddled pussies. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 years ago | (#33748738)

The only reason we have safe laboratories today is because in the 1970's, science kits killed the careless ones.

you sir are my hero.

I also am sick of the coddling of the population to eliminate natural selection.

Viva los trombones! (2, Interesting)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | about 4 years ago | (#33748382)

Paper clips are great toys/tools. Stop protecting the children from themselves and their inate curiosity and creativity.

Paper-clips but not tobacco (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | about 4 years ago | (#33748394)

What I don't understand is that the government claims to have the authority via the CPSC to ban these kits and all kinds of other stuff but they say they cannot find the authority anywhere to ban tobacco? Personally, I'm one of those "small government" whackos that thinks all of this is nonsense but why can't they at least be consistent in their overstepping?

Re:Paper-clips but not tobacco (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 4 years ago | (#33748546)

The government actually gets its authority from the people. If they ban tobacco, there will be backlash. Banning science kits gives you a noisy minority that doesn't care to do anything but bitch.

Re:Paper-clips but not tobacco (1)

maxume (22995) | about 4 years ago | (#33748558)

They are consistent, if you set aside your axe and grinder.

(See, it is illegal to market tobacco to children, and adults can buy all sorts of wonderful dangerous chemicals, tools and weapons)

Re:Paper-clips but not tobacco (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | about 4 years ago | (#33748798)

Tobacco is for adults. These 'science' kits are for kids.

Anything is possible if you do it for the children.

The sources of real harm (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | about 4 years ago | (#33748400)

Television, fast food, sugary drinks, drivers with cellphones, schools and parents.

Also, magnets are pretty safe as long as you don't eat more than one at a time. Although a science kit really needs at least two magnets to be interesting, so I guess it is impossible to make a safe science kit if your kid has pica.

If they want to be so f_cking safe... (1)

Lead Butthead (321013) | about 4 years ago | (#33748574)

I they want to be so f_cking safe, they should put their children in a straight jacket and toss them into padded cells.

The federal commission of me agrees (4, Funny)

roman_mir (125474) | about 4 years ago | (#33748402)

The federal commission of me agrees: science should be banned in the USA, so should be the last remnants of common sense; any display of individuality and unhealthy interest in any particular subject need to be investigated to establish the safety of such behavior as it relates to the society in total.

Everything must be made not just safe enough, but safe with a huge margin of error so that there is no chance of any accident happening ever at all. Of-course accidents are mostly responsible for a large number of scientific discoveries, so any evidence of scientific discovery must be investigated to isolate the main reason and find out where the safety procedures have failed to prevent such an occurrence to make sure it never happens again.

Have a safe day.

Re:The federal commission of me agrees (1)

Reziac (43301) | about 4 years ago | (#33748702)

More insightful than funny, and unfortunately we are fast becoming exactly that parody of ourselves. :(

Magnets are not what they once were (4, Insightful)

bugs2squash (1132591) | about 4 years ago | (#33748406)

I have seen Xrays of children that have swallowed magnets - it aint good, and probably could have been prevented yet still allowed children to explore magnetism. magnets are also much stronger and more brittle than they were when I was a kid, the risks have changed and it is responsible to review policy. I don't think anyone wants to stop children learning here and I don't want to buy a science kit for my kid that's full of things that are more dangerous than they need to be.
By all means balance risk against learning benefit, but let there be some balance, not just recklessness to save a penny by not removing the sharp edges on a ruler.

Re:Magnets are not what they once were (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#33748508)

Here's a thought: teach your kids not to swallow magnets.

If your kid is too stupid not to eat two magnets, they shouldn't be given a science kit. Heck, you should probably just lock them in a padded room so they can't hurt themselves. Science kits aren't given to two year olds, if your kid who is 7 or 8 swallows magnets, either you've failed as a parent or your kid is pretty damn stupid.

If you don't like what is in science kits, don't buy them for your kid, and your kid will end up in a low paying job eating away at society's wealth by using welfare and the like.

But let us who can actually raise kids and don't want our kids to end up with dreams and aspirations beyond the local Burger King buy the kits for our kids.

Re:Magnets are not what they once were (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | about 4 years ago | (#33748590)

Here's a thought: teach your kids not to swallow magnets.

Exactly! It's like all these packages with "choking hazard" warnings or, like, "danger, this is poison" warnings. Just teach your kids not to swallow these things, and they'll just totally not do it, 'cuz kids are like that! Right?

Re:Magnets are not what they once were (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33748652)

why is this modded down? it's absolutely right.
if a person is still swallowing random objects past the age of 2, he has bigger issues and is not the target consumer of a "science kit".

Re:Magnets are not what they once were (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33748632)

F**kin magnets... how do they work.

Re:Magnets are not what they once were (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 years ago | (#33748826)

What dumbass let's a kid stupid enough or immature enough to put it in their nose or eat something, near a rare earth magnet?

Kids can learn with low power iron powder magnets that are flexible. When they are mature enough to not stick crap in their mouth or nose or ear, then you let them near bigger stuff.

It's like brain dead stupid parents that buy a 3 year old a laser pointer. What dumbass does that?

Re:Magnets are not what they once were (1)

azmodean+1 (1328653) | about 4 years ago | (#33748864)

I know it's just too hard to RTFA, but then you get crap like this. It's not about the ruler being sharp, it's about testing the rulers and paper clips for dangerous chemicals like lead. The problem being that it's exactly the same as the ruler that you can buy without this testing as long as it doesn't say "for kids" on it.

This seems to be some kind of power grab by the committee to try to regulate everything that might come in contact with a child and that they can make an argument that it is marketed to kids.

Having said that though, didn't the kits used to just have an invoice of mundane objects that you had to round up to do the experiments? It seems like a waste to have rulers and paper clips in every kit.

recommendations? (2, Interesting)

magarity (164372) | about 4 years ago | (#33748428)

Can anyone recommend a good science kit with all kinds of things about to be banned? I have a 5 1/2 year old who and we could have a good time with a decent kit. Preferably one with plenty of toxic and/or explosive chemicals and of course some sharp objects, etc.

Re:recommendations? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33748522)

When we were kids we couldn't afford science kits. We just had to play with gun powder, gasoline, matches and plastic models. And we liked it.

Re:recommendations? (5, Informative)

Duradin (1261418) | about 4 years ago | (#33748618)

If you can find a copy, most likely digital and illegal as the physical version is rather rare bordering on non-existent, The Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments has a lot of experiments that can be done with household items or other relatively common components.

"Many of the experiments contained in the book are now considered highly dangerous for unsupervised children, and would not appear in a modern children's chemistry book." from Wikipedia.

Re:recommendations? (4, Informative)

Atriqus (826899) | about 4 years ago | (#33748880)

Found it readily readable/downloadable here [scribd.com] .

Re:recommendations? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 years ago | (#33748862)

Broken glass and old razorblades are a good start.

Another is give the kid a nice assortment of pool chemicals and a portable propane torch.

Great way to learn...

Re:recommendations? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 4 years ago | (#33748872)

Can anyone recommend a good science kit with all kinds of things about to be banned?

Not exempting materials from existing safety testing requirements isn't the same thing as banning them.

Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33748448)

Jesus Fucking Christ on a Popsicle stick. Let's just tie those children to their beds god forbid something might happen to them.

LOL GUBMIT BUROKRACY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33748460)

Geez, the next thing you know they want to test the cups children drink out of, like our children are too stupid to know how to use a glass properly!

Oh wait... [yahoo.com] You mean there are reasons to test product safety OTHER than the possibility of simple misuse?

Let darwinism take its course (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | about 4 years ago | (#33748468)

If you die choking on a standard plastic ruler, you were too weak to survive in this world. Better you improve the species by not perpetuating your substandard genes.

Pussification (1)

stevegee58 (1179505) | about 4 years ago | (#33748476)

We're witnessing the pussification of America right before our eyes.
It's absolutely sickening.

damn I despise the CPSC (1)

r00t (33219) | about 4 years ago | (#33748518)

The CPSC could stick to something useful, like banning products with hidden and unexpected dangers, but no. As a government agency they must expand to get more power. They are self-interested. They attract power-hungry people who desire to control what we can buy. They attract people who like to show off a list of accomplishments that allegedly protect the children.

I still miss the lawn darts. (jarts) Lawn darts could kill you, but they were fun (unlike anything that meets approval) and they helped to remove idiots from the gene pool.

Fortunately the CPSC haven't yet banned power tools, so I can still find toys for my kids. Home Depot and Lowe's are the new toy stores.

This is a sure sign (1)

BreazySpeculation (1802162) | about 4 years ago | (#33748520)

I am now convinced that the world is coming to an end. I fear we have very little time left. I will now attempt suicide by ruler. :(

This is why US science education is screwed... (4, Informative)

Dahamma (304068) | about 4 years ago | (#33748566)

You know all of those guys who worked for NASA in the 60s, designing and building the rockets that took us to the moon? Well, they had radioactive sources and Geiger counters in their science kits.

And kids today are going to have to fight to get paper clips and magnets. Sigh.

I still have (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33748578)

8 of my fingers left after playing with my chemistry set when I was a kid, and I'm grateful.

They are worried about lead in the paper clips (0, Flamebait)

nysus (162232) | about 4 years ago | (#33748602)

I'd say that's a legitimate concern. Why is everyone so quick to conclude everyone in government is incompetent? It's irrational so chill the fuck out.

Re:They are worried about lead in the paper clips (1)

zero_out (1705074) | about 4 years ago | (#33748804)

I think the question really comes down to: Where do we draw the line at making exceptions? When you allow one exception in the testing system, why not make another? And another? Where do you draw the line between "commonly known to be safe" and "considered safe by some, but not enough"? This isn't about determining what is safe or not. It's about determining what should be tested.

Re:They are worried about lead in the paper clips (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | about 4 years ago | (#33748854)

These paper clips are no different to those that a kid could come into contact with in any of a hundred other day-to-day situations. Either there's a general safety problem with the lead content of paper clips or there isn't - being a part of a science kit doesn't change that.

Re:They are worried about lead in the paper clips (1)

mcornelius (1007881) | about 4 years ago | (#33748892)

I'd say that's a legitimate concern. Why is everyone so quick to conclude everyone in government is incompetent? It's irrational so chill the fuck out.

The accusation here is not that they're incompetent, but too competent at doing the wrong thing (prohibiting parents from giving informed consent to relatively minor risks to/for their children) because political appointees don't share the same child-rearing values as parents that would decide differently from them.

Anything can be used as a weapon! (2, Insightful)

kheldan (1460303) | about 4 years ago | (#33748644)

Ask a Navy SEAL or your friendly neighborhood secret agent, or Vin "I'm going to kill you with my teacup" Diesel, or even your local role playing gamer: almost anything can be used as a weapon to inflict harm on someone. It follows that almost any object, used improperly, can unintentionally inflict harm. Of course a kid can hurt themselves or others with a paperclip or a ruler; it doesn't take a genius to figure that out! It also shouldn't take a genius to figure out that life, and growing up in particular, is full of risks, and that avoiding those risks is neither realistic, nor is it practical or, in my opinion, particularly desirable! I am saddened and angered by the "pussification of America" by removing all sources of everyday harm and risk, the obsessive "childproofing" of everything around us (often without regard for whether it affects adults or not!), and especially the "helicopter parent" mentality: you're raising your kids to be huge pussies! I also suspect that much of this over-sheltering of children is contributing in a big way to the "quarter-life crisis" phenomenon. Instead of "protecting" children to the point of encasing them in bubblewrap and feeding them intravenously (because they might choke on their pablum), how about we teach them the proper use, and more importantly an appropriate level of respect for potentially dangerous objects and situations, so they'll grow up to be responsible, capable adults? Or is that too radical and "dangerous" a concept anymore?

Oh for crying out loud! (1)

KDN (3283) | about 4 years ago | (#33748674)

Rulers?! Unless they are being used by a nun they are not lethal. Paper clips? Heaven forbid we give these kids staplers. Rubber bands? Tie enough around the neck and you can strangle someone. Erasers? Stuff a hundred or so in your nose and mouth and you could suffocate. Paper? What better to write bomb threats on? Shoes? We could kill someone with those, eventually. Magnifying glass? EVIL EVIL. A pencil? The horrors of millions of children going around without eyes. A desk? Well you could push one out the window and kill someone with those. Clothing? Can't have that, you could strangle someone with it. Books? PORNOGRAPHERS USE BOOKS. Computer? Same as books. Sunshine: causes skin cancer. Water: you could drown in it. Air: can't have that, its injected into bloodstreams by MURDERS.

Years ago someone had a signature that I am going to paraphrase: A risk free society is for those who don't have the balls to live in the real world. And I think it was a lady that said that.

Rename it to (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about 4 years ago | (#33748722)

Darwin Awards starter kit.

"Hours of fun and safety!" (1)

fantomas (94850) | about 4 years ago | (#33748726)

Weird thing is I've just come back from the supermarket and I noticed on the side of some kids party novelties that the box advertising had the slogan "Hours of fun and safety!". How depressing. The last thing I wanted as a kid was *safety*. Whatever happened to "Hours of fun and excitement"?

UK just as bad as the USA sometimes....

Bad summary (3, Insightful)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about 4 years ago | (#33748752)

This isn't about banning. This is about testing.

When I was a kid, someone had a cheap plastic ruler. He slapped it on my desk to wake me up one day and the damn thing shattered.

What the hell are paper clips doing in a science kit anyway? Is it part of the module on the boring bureaucracy of science?

Feet and thumbs (1)

Punto (100573) | about 4 years ago | (#33748788)

I hear those rulers are graded using "feet" and "inches", that's pretty dangerous.

ac deliv4rs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33748790)

suck it, bitches
http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=1948#comic

TO BE FAIR... (2, Insightful)

AxemRed (755470) | about 4 years ago | (#33748816)

I have to be the devil's advocate in this case. I don't know the degree of testing that they are recommending be done, but I don't think this is as simple as "OMG someone might poke their eye with a paperclip."

For example...
A cheaply made wooden ruler that, after a small amount of bending, starts splintering in a way that will cause it to easily give people splinters may not be good for children under 12.
Or a plastic ruler that is made out of a material that, instead of simply breaking when bent, shatters and causes sharp shards to fly in all directions (think of bending a CD until it breaks) may not be good for children under 12.
Or even a paperclip that breaks easily leaving sharp edges or contains unsafe amounts of toxic metals may not be good for children under 12.

My guess is that reasons like these are why they don't relax the guidelines.

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33748856)

What are the odds that the kid who tries to SWALLOW RULERS is going to have a chemistry set or other sort of science kit?

Don't worry (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 4 years ago | (#33748888)

It won't be long before the consumer product commission deems paperclips and rulers unsafe for adults as well... Paperclips? They don't carry a proper warning.... someone may put an eye out with that thing.

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