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CR: Strong support for federal role in product safety

February 16, 2011

Consumer Reports Poll Finds Strong Support for Federal Role in Product Safety

WASHINGTON – A nationwide poll by Consumers Union (CU), the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, found Americans strongly support the federal government’s role in protecting people from unsafe consumer products.
The poll results were unveiled today as a House subcommittee prepared for a Thursday hearing on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), the law that bans lead and chemicals known as phthalates from children’s products, establishes a public database of consumer complaints about product hazards, and provides other protections for consumers against unsafe children’s products.
According to the poll:
• The overwhelming majority of respondents – 98 percent – agreed that the federal government should play a prominent role in improving product safety.
• 82 percent strongly agreed the federal government should require testing by manufacturers of children’s products like jewelry, pacifiers and toys to ensure they do not contain any harmful substances.
• 80 percent strongly agreed the federal government should require testing by manufacturers of products like baby carriers or slings, cribs and strollers to ensure their safety, and 73 percent strongly agreed the federal government should take steps to keep unsafe consumer products out of the marketplace.
• 82 percent said they were interested in the ability to access a database maintained by the government where you can report and search safety problems.
Ami Gadhia, policy counsel for Consumers Union, said, “This survey found widespread support for a strong federal role in product safety. A large majority of people agreed that children’s products ought to be tested for safety, and dangerous products should be kept out of the marketplace. The poll also shows that consumers are interested in a public database to report and find out about problems with consumer products. The CPSIA helps make all these things possible. As some call for amendments to the CPSIA, Congress needs to listen to consumers and pay attention to the strong support for government efforts to protect Americans from unsafe products.”
CU today sent copies of the poll results to lawmakers as the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade prepared for an oversight hearing on the CPSIA and the Consumer Product Safety Commission to be held Thursday.
The CPSIA was signed into law by President Bush in 2008. The House approved the measure by a vote of 424-1 and the Senate approved it 89-3.
The Consumer Reports National Research Center conducted the telephone survey using a nationally representative probability sample of telephone households. 1,007 interviews were completed among adults aged 18+. Interviewing took place over January 27-30, 2011. The sampling error is +/- 3.2 percentage points at a 95% confidence level.
David Butler, 202-462-6262