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Consumer Products One Step Closer To Being Safer

Posted by Jane Akre
Friday, March 07, 2008 10:26 AM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Crib Recalls, Baby Cribs Carseats and Carriers, CPSC, Defective Products

The CPSC Reform Act may givethe agency more power to identify dangerous products before they haveto be recalled from the market.

LEARN MORE

  • Injuryboard on CPSC here

  • Injuryboard on Product Recalls here

  • Injuryboard on Lead in Toys here

  • Injuryboard on Baby Seats, Car Seats and Carriers here

  • Injuryboard on Crib Recalls here 

  • Consumer Federation of America here

  • National Association of Manufacturers letter here 

  • CPSC Reform Act of 2007 here

For decades the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has had the responsibility of overseeing the quality and safety of thousands of consumer products from dolls to lawnmowers and everything in between. 

But over the decades the agency has seen its funding erode and has been unable to keep up with the huge influx of imports and the problems they bring into this country.

Amid calls to modernize the CPSC, the Senate voted 79-13 Thursday to boost the budget of the tired agency phasing in $60 million by 2015, putting it closer to the budget it had when the agency was empowered in the late 1970s.

The CPSC Reform Act of 2007,  gives the CPSC more bite to its bark, increasing oversight to require pre-market testing of children’s toys by independent labs.

It would ban lead in toys, boost civil penalties to $20 million from $1.8, protect whistle-blowers and extend authority to enforce product safety laws to state attorneys general.

It would also create a user-friendly data bank on the internet that consumers could easily access before purchasing any consumer product. 

The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) has fought a “loser pays” amendment that would allow manufacturers to collect court costs from states that unsuccessfully challenge them. 

And CFA opposed a Senate letter “Top Ten Reasons to Oppose the CPSC Reform Act”.

While the National Association of Manufacturers sent a letter to Senate leaders voicing their concern with the bill and the “burdens” it places on U.S. companies.

The bill’s support included 33 Republicans, two independents and 44 Democrats prompted by more than 400 product recalls last year, many Chinese-made toys painted with lead, toys with choking hazards or nursery products that fall apart harming or killing children.

The 13 GOP lawmakers who voted against the bill called it a gift to trial lawyers according to the Los Angeles Times.

"Lawsuits as far as the eye can see," predicted Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.).

The White House has also had problems with several provisions. During President Bush’s terms he cut nearly 15 percent in agency staff.

Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton, John McCain and Barak Obama missed the vote.

The House and Senate must reconcile their differences. The House version, passed in December, had the blessing of some industry groups but has fewer consumer protections, less teeth to penalize and lower funding.   #


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