The Government Did Something Right!

October 2, 2008

Consumers Win – Toys Will Be Safer:

by John Newcomer

Just in time for the holiday seasons Congress passed and President Bush signed a complete over haul of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).  The clear winners are children and consumers.

The CPSC was created in 1972 and for years had been completely ineffective.  The beleaguered agency lacked funding, staff and regulatory powers to do much of anything to protect consumers.
A study released by Public Citizen’s revealed that manufactures often waited nearly three years before reporting product defects to the CPCS and the agency typically took another seven months to warn the public.  These were not just products that did not work, but included products such as infant swings that were implicated in six deaths!

The size of the problem is gargantuan.  In 2007— 45 million toys and children’s products were recalled, but dangerous products continue to flood the market.  In a show of bi-partisan support the House of Representatives recognized the problem and passed the reform bill 424 to 1.  Congressman and Presidential Candidate (R) Ron Paul was the only lawmaker to vote against the bill.

The Danny Keysar Product Safety Notification Act, as it’s called, is contained within the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008.  It will require mandatory standards and testing for specific infant and toddler products, ban the sale, lease or use in commercial settings of cribs that do not meet current safety standards, and would require manufacturers to include product registration cards with new products to facilitate notice of recalled products.

“My family and I are so honored that the portion of the bill that will protect children from unsafe infant and toddler products such as cribs is named for our son Danny,” said Linda Ginzel, President of Kids In Danger.  Ginzel and her husband Boaz Keysar founded  Kids In Danger to protect children from unsafe children’s products after their son’s death  in a recalled defective portable crib.

By signing the bill into law toys and children products will now be safer.  Most of the act takes place immediately and provides:

  • Lead will be essentially eliminated from toys and children’s products.
  • Consumers will have access to a publicly-accessible database to report and learn about hazards posed by unsafe products.
  • Toys and other children’s products will be required to be tested for safety before they are sold.
  • State Attorneys General will have the necessary authority to enforce product safety laws.
  • CPSC has the authority to levy more significant civil penalties against violators of its safety regulations, which will help deter wrongdoing.
  • Toxic phthalates will be been banned from children’s products.
  • Whistleblowers will be granted important protections.
  • CPSC will receive substantial increases in its resources – including its staffing levels, its laboratory and computer resources and its various authorities to conduct recalls and take other actions – going forward.

Because Washington has acted responsibly the Holiday Season just got safer for our children.