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Hearings needed on child product safety laws to ensure compliance


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Contact:
Sally Greenberg, 202-462-6262

Consumers Union: Congress Should Hold Hearings on Child Product Safety Laws, Manufacturer Compliance

$4 million fine against Graco for failing to inform regulators about safety problems over 11-year period indicates problems

(Washington, D.C.) – Consumers Union today called on Congress to hold oversight hearings to determine the extent to which child-product manufacturers may be ignoring laws requiring them to promptly inform regulators about possibly hazardous products on the market, and whether regulators are doing enough to ensure dangerous goods are off store shelves.
The request comes in the wake of a $4 million government settlement with Graco Children’s Products Inc., one of the largest manufacturers of children’s goods, for failing to inform regulators about dangerous goods on the market from 1991 to 2002. The fine involved nearly 12 million products that posed dangers to young children, with some resulting in contusions, fractures and strangulations.
“Consumers need to know if the car seats, cribs and other children’s products they buy are as safe as possible, and Congress must ensure that the companies who make these products follow the law,” said Sally Greenberg, senior product safety counsel for Consumers Union. “The history of manufacturers failing to report in a timely manner under this section of the law is all too well known, and is especially worrisome for children’s products that have caused injury or death.”
In a letter to both the House and Senate Commerce Committees, Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, called for hearings to determine the extent to which any other manufacturers may be violating requirements to “immediately” report safety concerns with their products to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Manufacturers must let the CPSC know when it even suspects that a product poses a substantial product hazard, and the agency has made it clear that when in doubt, companies should err on the side of reporting incidents or concerns.
“These current revelations are inexecusable, and Congress needs to examine why companies might be ignoring the law,” said Janell Mayo Duncan, legislative and regulatory counsel. “Current penalties may need to be raised, or considering that companies may be hiding safety concerns, this argues in favor of requiring durable children’s products to be safety-tested before they are allowed on store shelves.”
For a list of product recalls, go to http://www.recalls.gov
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