Consumer Reports: Congress must change law that hides product dangers from public

CR endorses new House bill to end deadly secrecy, change law that protects companies at the expense of consumer safety; law has concealed dangers of infant sleepers, dressers, and more

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Consumer Reports has endorsed a new federal bill sponsored by Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) to help make sure that the Consumer Product Safety Commission promptly alerts the public about dangerous products on the market and in people’s homes—and that the agency is not prevented from doing so by a damaging law currently on the books.

 

H.R. 5565, the Safety Hazard and Recall Efficiency (SHARE) Information Act, would make key changes to section 6(b) of the Consumer Product Safety Act, a notorious provision of law that has been implicated in keeping the CPSC from warning consumers about serious safety hazards, including those associated with Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleepers, Ikea Malm dressers, and other products linked to children’s deaths. Section 6(b) generally blocks the CPSC from telling the public about a specific product’s dangers without manufacturer permission.

 

William Wallace, manager of home and safety policy at Consumer Reports, said, “Current law fundamentally protects manufacturers at the expense of consumer safety. When the CPSC wants to tell people about a product that could hurt or kill them, they usually have to get the company’s permission first. That’s absurd, and it leads to deadly secrecy and delays. Every member of Congress should support the SHARE Information Act because it’s critical to put people’s safety, not corporate secrecy, first.”

 

According to CR, section 6(b) is an untenable policy that delays needed recalls and leaves parents, caregivers, and all consumers in the dark. The SHARE Information Act would address this law’s failings by rewriting section 6(b) to allow the CPSC to publicly share critical information about unsafe products without risking a lawsuit by the product’s manufacturer. The legislation would also increase the fines on companies that violate product safety laws, including laws requiring companies to report possible safety hazards to the CPSC.

 

Oriene Shin, policy counsel for home and product safety at Consumer Reports, said, “When a product is dangerous, people should know immediately. The SHARE Information Act would help parents and all consumers have the facts they need to keep their loved ones safe, resulting in a safer and fairer marketplace. Companies would be held accountable for doing the right thing, instead of hiding behind a law and hoping no one will find out about their hazardous product.”

 

In addition to Consumer Reports, the SHARE Information Act is endorsed by the Consumer Federation of America, Kids In Danger, Public Citizen, and U.S. PIRG. CR has set up an action page where consumers can send a message to their member of Congress about the bill.

 

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Contact: David Butler, dbutler@consumer.org, 202-462-6262

 

Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit membership organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world. For 80 years, CR has provided evidence-based product testing and ratings, rigorous research, hard-hitting investigative journalism, public education, and steadfast policy action on behalf of consumers’ interests. Unconstrained by advertising or other commercial influences, CR has exposed landmark public health and safety issues and strives to be a catalyst for pro-consumer changes in the marketplace. From championing responsible auto safety standards, to winning food and water protections, to enhancing healthcare quality, to fighting back against predatory lenders in the financial markets, Consumer Reports has always been on the front lines, raising the voices of consumers.