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10th Anniversary of Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act: Safer Products, Better Tools for Informed Purchasing, Increased Safety, More to Do  

August 14, 2018

Washington, D.C. — Consumer Federation of America (CFA), Kids In Danger (KID), Consumers Union (CU), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), U.S. PIRG, Public Citizen, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards, and SafeKids Worldwide today marked the tenth anniversary of the passage of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) and lauded the consumer safety benefits that resulted from this landmark law.

This law was passed in response to a record number of product recalls in 2007, including recalls of:  25 million toys for hazardous lead paint, tiny magnets, or dangerous chemicals; one million cribs for side rails that can separate and strangle infants; and tens of millions of pieces of children’s jewelry made with hazardous levels of lead. These recalls and the hazards that these products posed to consumers highlighted the need for Congress to take action to ensure that cribs were safe, that toxic chemicals were banned from children’s products, and that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) had the tools and resources it needed to fulfill its mission.

On August 14, 2008, the CPSIA was signed into law after a deliberative process and overwhelming bipartisan support in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. The law includes strong product safety reforms that helped strengthen the work of the CPSC, a critical independent regulatory agency.

In the ten years since the CPSIA was passed, there have been significant safety breakthroughs, including the following:

  • The reduction of lead in children’s products through lower lead limits. Lead content in children’s products is now limited to 100 parts per million (ppm) and lead paint to 90 ppm. In 2007, there were 109 children’s products recalled for lead, including toys and other children’s items. In 2017, there was just one such recall for lead.
  • Strong mandatory standards for cribs and other infant and toddler products. The CPSC has promulgated 22 standards for products such as cribs, high chairs, and strollers due to this provision and still must complete three more. As a result of strong mandatory standards, in 2016, no deaths were reported prior to a recall on a children’s product. This mandatory standards process must continue effectively.
  • A mandatory safety standard for children’s toys, which now exists and which includes a mechanism for the CPSC to improve those standards if necessary, and a requirement for toys to be tested to ensure that the safety standards are being met. In 2007 there were 107 recalls of children’s toys and in 2017 there were 15: an 89% reduction due in large part to this provision of the CPSIA.
  • Increased authority to hold violators of product safety rules accountable, which enables the CPSC, when it uses this authority, to assess meaningful civil penalties to deter violators of product safety rules and laws.
  • SaferProducts.gov, a consumer incident database that helps the CPSC identify trends in product hazards and gives consumers a tool to report and research harm associated with a consumer product.
  • Required third-party premarket safety testing for children’s products subject to mandatory standards.
  • For durable nursery goods, manufacturers are required to include a product registration card, making it easier for consumers to register their products so that they can be contacted directly in the case of recall.
  • A ban of eight phthalates, chemicals that soften plastic, in kids toys and childcare articles. Phthalates are endocrine disrupting chemicals and exposure to phthalates has been linked to breast cancer, developmental issues, decreased fertility, obesity and asthma.

On this tenth anniversary, many of our organizations are releasing a CPSIA Tenth Anniversary Album, documenting the important impact that the CPSIA has had on safety in the United States.

“The CPSIA represents the most significant strengthening of product safety laws since the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) was created. The CPSIA is a critical regulation that comprehensively strengthens our nation’s product safety net. Consumers, including children, are safer as a result of the CPSIA and its effective implementation,” stated Rachel Weintraub, legislative director and general counsel at Consumer Federation of America. “The CPSC must continue to build on this success and implement more mandatory standards for infant and toddler products, assess meaningful and timely civil penalties, and make Saferproducts.gov an even more effective resource.”

“In the ten years since Danny’s Law was adopted, countless families have been saved heartache because safe cribs and other children’s products are on store shelves,” stated Nancy Cowles, Executive Director of Kids In Danger (KID), founded by Danny’s parents after his death in an unsafe portable crib. “There is more to be done, but the law has had a tremendous impact on our children’s safety.”

“As pediatricians, we work every day to ensure children are safe where they live, learn and play, and counsel parents on how they can protect their children from dangerous products. Since its enactment, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) has made significant progress to advance needed reforms that are designed with children’s safety in mind, such as imposing standards for lead in children’s products. There is no safe level of lead exposure for children, and the law was an important step forward to protect children from its serious health consequences. As we commemorate the law’s tenth anniversary, we reflect on these achievements and look ahead to continued improvements that keep our children healthy and safe,” said American Academy of Pediatrics President Colleen Kraft, MD, MBA, FAAP.

“Making the toy safety standard mandatory means that parents don’t have to play detective looking for lead paint, sharp edges, or dangerous magnets. And for too long parents relied on slow or voluntary recalls from the Commission and manufacturers,” stated Adam Barber, U.S. PIRG Consumer Watchdog. “But since the passage of the Act ten years ago, mandatory toy testing often catches these dangers before they get in a child’s hands. Parents can now have more confidence than ever that their kids’ toys are safe.”

“For the past ten years, the CPSIA has helped to keep unsafe products out of the market and gives the CPSC more tools to hold corporate bad actors accountable if they do not take adequate action to recall unsafe products,” stated Remington A. Gregg, Counsel for Civil Justice and Consumer Rights at Public Citizen. We look forward to continuing to work with the CPSC and Congress on behalf of consumers to ensure that the provisions of this milestone law are implemented well.”

“The CPSIA has helped to restore scientific integrity at the CPSC, providing it with the resources it needed to give scientists at the agency the space to conduct the important work that has led to safeguards protecting consumers and families from dangerous products,” stated Genna Reed, Lead Science and Policy Analyst, Union of Concerned Scientists. “Its implementation has served as a necessary firewall to prevent political interference and hindrances to scientific work that erode the federal decision-making process.”

“The CPSIA’s goal was to make sure companies and our government are proactive, not reactive, when it comes to dangerous safety defects. It’s been a clear success, and consumers are safer because of it,” said William Wallace, senior policy analyst for Consumers Union, the advocacy division of Consumer Reports. “The CPSC and members of Congress should build on that success by securing far stronger safety standards, especially for products with clear, unaddressed hazards and those that threaten vulnerable populations.”

“The CPSIA ban on the use of eight phthalates in kid’s toys and childcare articles continues to represent one of the most important consumer protections of the decade for one of our nation’s most vulnerable populations,” said Janet Nudelman, Director of Program and Policy at Breast Cancer Prevention Partners. “Indeed, the 2008 phthalate ban was a resounding victory for children’s health and safety and dealt a major blow to the chemical industry, which spent millions of dollars trying to defeat it and then thwart its implementation. Ten years later, there’s still so much more to be done to protect our kids from unsafe chemical exposures but today, parents can rest easier knowing that their children’s toys, from rubber duckies to bath books, no longer contain these extremely toxic, hormonally active chemicals.”

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Contact:

Rachel Weintraub, CFA, 202-387-6121

Nancy Cowles, KID, 312-218-5593

Kara Kelber, CU, 202-462-6262

Devin Miller, AAP, 202-724-3308

Adam Garber, U.S. PIRG, 267-515-1220

Remington Gregg, PC, 202-454-5117

Lisa Nurnberger, UCS, 202-331-6959

Erika Wilhelm, BCPP, 415-539-5005

The Consumer Federation of America is a nonprofit association of nearly 300 consumer groups that, since 1968, has sought to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. www.consumerfed.org

Kids In Danger (KID) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting children by fighting for product safety. KID was founded in 1998 by the parents of sixteen-month-old Danny Keysar who died in his Chicago childcare home when a portable crib collapsed around his neck. www.KidsInDanger.org

Consumers Union is the advocacy division of Consumer Reports, an independent, nonprofit member organization that works side by side with consumers for truth, transparency, and fairness in the marketplace. www.consumersunion.org

The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds.

U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups, is a consumer group that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in our democratic society. www.uspirg.org

Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.citizen.org

Breast Cancer Prevention Partners is a science-based advocacy organization that works to prevent breast cancer by eliminating exposure to toxic chemicals and radiation. www.bcpp.org

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet’s most pressing problems. Joining with citizens across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future. www.ucsusa.org

For more than 30 years, Safe Kids Worldwide has advocated to prevent childhood unintentional injury related to dangers on the road, at home and at play. Safe Kids is a grass roots organization with over 420 coalitions throughout the United States and more than 30 around the world. Safe Kids works with allies to protect children from injury and death arising from a defective product. www.safekids.org

The Coalition for Sensible Safeguards is an alliance of more than 160 consumer, small business, labor, scientific, research, good government, faith, community, health, environmental, and public interest groups — representing millions of Americans. https://sensiblesafeguards.org/