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CU Launches “Twelve Days of Safe Shopping”

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Consumers Union Launches “Twelve Days of Safe Shopping”
“Black Friday” Action at Retail Stores in New York City, Boston, Chicago, and Minneapolis

Washington, DC—As Congress intensifies their work to address this nation’s product safety crisis, Consumers Union launches a “Twelve Days of Safe Shopping” campaign, calling on manufacturers, retailers, and government agencies to develop effective measures to prevent unsafe products from reaching store shelves.
Kicking off on Friday, November 23, the day after Thanksgiving, or “Black Friday,” and continuing through December 4th, the campaign includes consumer activism aimed at retail stores in New York, Boston, Chicago and Minneapolis. Volunteers in these cities will be handing “Safe Shopper coupons” to cashiers when they buy something, asking that the cashier give the coupon to the store manager. In addition, thousands of individuals across the country will be handing out coupons in their own communities as well.
“Safe Shopper coupons” list things that consumers should be able to expect when they shop: that all toys and products meet strong safety standards; that all recalled products should be removed from shelves promptly; and that all recall information should be posted clearly for consumers at the point of sale. Coupons can be seen at: www.NotInMyCart.org, Consumers Union’s new website for recent product recalls and a vehicle to take action to make all products safer in the future. Many of the volunteers will also be wearing “Get the Lead Out” T-shirts and stickers when they shop.
The effort is designed to put retailers and manufacturers on notice that consumers are concerned over the safety of products, particularly toys. This year, dubbed “the Year of the Recall,” there have been recalls involving at least 23 million toys due to lead paint, small magnets, or toxic chemicals, 175 million pieces of children’s jewelry made with hazardous levels of lead, as well more than a million cribs that have entrapped and strangled infants.
“With the recent recall of Aqua Dots, one of the top touted toys this holiday season, parents don’t know what is safe to buy their children,” said Jean Halloran, Director of Food Policy Initiatives at Consumers Union. “We want retailers and manufacturers to be far more diligent in making sure the toys and products they sell are safe.”
Consumers Union is also providing shoppers with Consumer Reports’ “12 Safe Toy Shopping Tips,” which can be found at:
Consumers Union continues to urge members of Congress and the Administration to make major reforms in our product safety system. Safety reform legislation is currently moving through the House and Senate, and Consumers Union is working to ensure the strongest reforms possible. CU is urging Congress to enact a final product safety reform bill that will:
• Give the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC)—the agency responsible for ensuring the safety of more than 15,000 products—more resources and tools to do their job. The CPSC has had their budget and staff slashed in half over the years, and they need more resources.
• Enable the CPSC to hire more inspectors at the ports, and ensure that safety tests are conducted by independent parties for all children’s products, not the manufacturers. Change the dynamic at the CPSC so the agency does not have to first get industry approval—or risk being sued by the industry—before the agency can tell the public about an unsafe product, even if it involves toys. That’s a hoop that no other safety agency has to jump through.
• Eliminate the lead in all children’s products
For more information, please visit: www.NotInMyCart.org.

All “Black Friday” Events to take place Friday, November 23
NYC—Jean Halloran 646-932-9768
Consumers Union, NYPIRG, Empire State Consumer Association and concerned consumers
10 am ET
Herald Square: SW corner of 34th and Broadway.
Boston—Morgan Jindrich 512-809-7771
Consumers Union, MASSPIRG
10 am ET
Park Street T-Station (Corner of Tremont and Park)
Chicago—Kathy Mitchell 512-695-4670
Consumers Union, ILPIRG, Kids In Danger
10 am CT
Historic Water Tower, 806 N. Michigan Ave.
Minneapolis, MN—Melissa Trevino 512-517-8115
Consumers Union, MPIRG
10 am CT
NW corner of South 9th St and Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis
On location contacts:
NYC—Jean Halloran 646-932-9768
Boston—Morgan Jindrich 512-809-7771
Chicago—Kathy Mitchell 512-695-4670
Minneapolis—Melissa Trevino 512-517-8115