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Proposed changes to product safety law pose dangers to children

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Proposed Changes to Consumer Product Safety Law Pose Critical Dangers to Children
House to Hold Hearing on Proposal to Amend CPSIA Thursday, April 7

WASHINGTON – A proposal to amend the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) currently under review in the House of Representatives would undermine the critical public health protections aimed at children’s products, according to a letter released today by consumer protection, science and public interest groups. The letter was sent to members of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade as it prepares to hold a hearing today on the Discussion Draft.
“The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), passed with an overwhelming bipartisan majority in 2008, created for the first time a requirement that children’s products be tested for safety before they get to store shelves as a response to the recalls of millions of toys and other children’s products,” the groups write. In the three years since the law’s passage, the CPSIA has resulted in the world’s strongest crib safety standards and in a new public database where consumers can report and research product safety hazards.
“Since passage of the CPSIA, there have been calls for a modification of some of the law’s provisions to address the needs of makers of handmade children’s products. The Discussion Draft, however, goes far beyond that and reverses several key components of the CPSIA. We urge you to reject the approach proposed by the Discussion Draft as it goes too far and will not adequately protect children from product safety hazards.”
The groups stated that proposed changes would, among other things: reverse the requirement that all children’s products be pre-tested for safety; dramatically weaken the limits on lead in children’s products; make it difficult to ban hormonal chemicals from toys and child care articles; and discourage consumers from reporting critical safety information to the CPSC, for inclusion in the agency’s recently launched public safety database.
The letter was signed by Consumers Union, Consumer Federation of America, Kids in Danger, US PIRG, Breast Cancer Fund, Center for Health Environment and Justice, Citizens’ Environmental Coalition, Demos, Illinois PIRG, Indiana Toxics Action, Maryland PIRG, National Research Center for Women and Families, Natural Resources Defense Council, Partnership for Working Families, Public Citizen, Union of Concerned Scientists, Vermont Public Interest Research Group, and Women’s Voices for the Earth. Consumer Federation of America’s Rachel Weintraub will testify at the hearing on behalf of several of the groups signed on to the letter.
For a full copy of the letter, please contact David Butler or Kara Kelber at Consumers Union (see below).

Media Contact: David Butler or Kara Kelber, Consumers Union, 202-462-6262;
Nancy Cowles, Kids in Danger, 312 -595-0649;
Rachel Weintraub, Consumer Federation of America, 202-387-6121