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Excerpt from Hearings: Before the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce of the House of Representatives, on the Bills 17824 and 19956, Relating to Adulterated Paint, Turpentine, and Linseed Oil

Mr. Marshall. There has been some little informal discussion here as to giving the opposition an opportunity to be heard, and I wish to say in that connection that so far as I am concerned, and the other friends of the measure as well, we shall be only too glad that all the time possible may be given for everybody to be heard on this proposition. There is no disposition to shut off the hearings, so far as the friends of the measure are concerned.

As author of H. R. 17824, I desire to submit to this committee a brief statement preliminary to the hearing of those who will treat the subject more or less from a technical standpoint.

The measure is framed strictly along the lines of the pure-food law; its execution would be by the same officials, and it would operate in practically the same way.

It covers the manufacture of paint in any Territory or the District of Columbia, and any paint that enters into interstate or foreign commerce, providing penalties for the adulteration or mislabeling of any such paints.

It is by no means a "pure-paint bill" - that is, it does not undertake to define what shall or shall not be pure paint; it is intended to be an "honest-paint law."

Reduced to its final analysis, this bill simply provides that paints shall be labeled so as to show the genuine constituents, and the proportions of each, leaving it largely to the purchasers to inform themselves as to the merits or the paint when advised as to its constituents.

A large proportion of the paints now in use are known as "ready mixed," which are sold by the gallon in sealed packages. While many brands of these paints are made up of honest materials, properly combined, and sold at full weight, there are numerous brands that are fraudulent, resulting in enormous profit to the manufacturer and consequent loss and serious inconvenience to the consumer. The frauds are not all confined to ready-mixed paints.

I do not deem it necessary to enlarge on this feature of the subject, for proof is everywhere at hand of the inferior quality of many of the paints, and I presume there is not a member of this committee who is not well aware of this fact.

It is the intent of this bill to provide for a workable law which will, on the one hand, protect the people against inferior paints, and at the same time work no injury to honest manufacturers. As a matter of fact, proper legislation ought to be a help rather than a hindrance to a manufacturer who is willing to make honest goods and sell them in an honest way.

The measure has been prepared with great care and with the assistance of Professor Ladd, pure food commissioner of the State of North Dakota, author of the North Dakota pure-paint law, recently sustained by the Supreme Court of the United States. I doubt if any man in the United States has a wider knowledge of the subject than Professor Ladd. In addition to this the Bureau of Chemistry has been consulted at all times, and the views of many paint manufacturers and users of paint have been considered.

The measure may, of course, be defective in some details, but the principles involved in the bill are along right lines, and should be retained.

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