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House committee votes to gut safety database

Thursday, June 23, 2011

House Committee Votes to Gut Safety Database

WASHINGTON, DC – The House Appropriations Committee approved legislation that would severely limit the ability of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to work to protect the public from unsafe products by gutting funding for the CPSC public database, launched in March of this year.
Ami Gadhia, policy counsel for Consumers Union, said, “The legislation passed by the Appropriations Committee today takes a giant step backwards for consumer safety protections. The CPSC public database provides access to critical safety information that every consumer has the right to while helping the CPSC identify trends in product hazards much more efficiently. Instead of increasing transparency in the marketplace, this provision to cut funding for the database only creates more questions for consumers when they go to the store. To shut this database down now, after resources have been already spent on design and implementation, not only would waste limited resources but put more American families at risk.”
“It is profoundly disappointing that an amendment to continue funding the consumer incident database failed the House Appropriations committee today. This new database is an incredibly important resource for consumers who for too long have been kept in the dark about product safety,” said Rachel Weintraub, Director of Product Safety and Senior Counsel for Consumer Federation of America.
The bipartisan Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), signed into law in 2008, strengthened the authority of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC), the federal agency that oversees the safety of approximately 15,000 consumer products. Among numerous important provisions, the law directed the CPSC to design a publicly accessible database. The database provides a mechanism for consumers both to report harms associated with consumer products, and to research risks associated with particular products. The database will also help the CPSC to identify trends in product hazards much more quickly and efficiently.
The full House of Representatives is expected to vote on the legislation in the coming weeks.
Media contacts: Kara Kelber, Consumers Union, 202-462-6262
Rachel Weintraub, Consumer Federation of America, 202-904-4953