Rolling back toy safety standards is illogical and dangerous

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By Consumers Union on Thursday, May 12th, 2011

“Another week, another recall of Chinese-made toys.”

It was 2007, the year of relentless toy recalls, that inspired this complaint from Illinois Senator Dick Durbin.  Lead paint, dangerous parts, loose magnets and choking hazards were just a few of the culprits that had stores scrambling to pull toys from shelves as the news covered stories about children being injured as they played.

Congress was compelled into action, and in 2008 a bipartisan effort passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).  The legislation, signed into law by President Bush, created new safety testing requirements for children’s products, stricter limits on toxins like lead and phthalates, and a public database where consumers could report safety hazards.

Three years later, however, the law is under attack.

A bill currently under consideration in the House would gut many of the protections in the CPSIA just as they’ve begun to go into effect.   Some House members claim that small toy makers are being hurt by the law, but there are ways to address that issue without undoing so many of the new safety standards the CPSIA accomplished.

This new proposal takes us backwards – it’s essentially a plan that would allow unsafe toys to flood the market again.  It would also weaken the important new SaferProducts.gov database, where you can search for and report on unsafe products.

Has Congress already forgotten about all of the injuries and millions of recalls that lead to the new law in the first place?   The same rationale that compelled them to pass the CPSIA still holds true today:  toys and products for kids should have to be tested for safety before they hit the market. There should be strong and straightforward limits on lead in all products for children.  Consumers should have an easy way to report and learn about safety problems.   Ask any parent and they’ll tell you these are no-brainers.

We need to be moving towards making products more safe, not less.  Click here to tell your Representative to stand strong in defense of the CPSIA.

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