Long-standing shared love for voluntary standards aside, businesses and manufacturers have begun asking the Bush administration to begin regulating industry’s health- and planet-ruining ways. A variety of factors have contributed to the turnaround, including tougher regulations enacted by states, a Congress unafraid to crack down, publicly apparent failures of voluntary standards, and a flood of low-priced, unsafe imports into the market. (Oh, and industry’s deep commitment to public health and safety, of course.) Businesses also tend to appreciate the pro-industry approach of the Bush administration, which has shown willingness to write regulations with clauses that, say, disallow consumer lawsuits. But even with pressure from Big Industry, the Bush administration has been dragging its feet. Says a lawyer for the Lighter Association, “We have had a very, very uphill battle trying to get regulation.” These are strange times.

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