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A Holiday Wish: Safer Toys

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is supposed to monitor and protect us from dangerous toys and thousands of other products.  Instead, it has been notoriously cozy with the manufacturing industry.  The result: deadly toys and products on our shelves and in our homes.

On Thursday, December 12, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce failed to adequately strengthen the “Consumer Product Safety Modernization Act” (H.R 4040).

The House bill does not do nearly enough to strengthen the agency, which presently doesn't have the same power as other regulatory agencies.  Many improvements in authority and standards are needed.  Congress at the very least should require CPSC to give consumers an “early warning” about potentially dangerous products, mandate broader pre-market testing requirements of toys, provide for more timely product recalls, and allow CPSC to stop potentially hazardous imports at ports of entry.

Representatives Edward Markey (D-MA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA) should be commended for their efforts in trying to improve the bill.  But the committee has rejected their sensible amendments - including one by Eshoo to reduce the allowable level of lead in children's products.  It seems the Democratic leadership on the committee has cut a deal with the Republicans to pass a watered-down, industry-friendly bill. 

Are most of the committee members really more interested in protecting industry profits and their campaign contributions than consumers?

It’s not too late for the committee to put safety first, as they will resume consideration of the bill again Tuesday, Dec. 18.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has been giving many gifts to industry. Now it’s time for Congress to go back to the workshop and put something better under the tree for consumers.

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