Arizona PIRG Applauds U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Passage of Comprehensive Product Safety Bill

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Congress Takes Action After Recall of 25 Million Unsafe Toys in 2007

Arizona PIRG

The Arizona Public Interest Research Group (Arizona PIRG) today commended the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee for its passage of the CPSC Reform Act of 2007, S. 2045.  The bill is based on Arizona PIRG’s 3-part platform to protect the public: it strengthens bans on lead in children’s products, adds money and resources to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and improves surveillance of imports.

“This bill fixes the holes in the product safety net and would make the CPSC the bigger agency that could, instead of the little agency that couldn’t,” said Diane E. Brown, Executive Director of the Arizona Public Interest Research Group (Arizona PIRG). “With 25 million unsafe toys found in 2007 alone, we clearly need to hold toy manufacturers accountable for making their products safe by beefing up the enforcement authority of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.”

The CPSC Reform Act of 2007, S. 2045 increases the CPSC’s annual budget from $62.7 million to $141.7 million by 2015, and significantly increases the Agency’s authority to get unsafe toys off of store shelves quickly. The bill increases civil monetary penalties from $1.8 million to $100 million per violation, requires independent third-party testing of products, improves CPSC’s ability to disclose safety information to the public, and contains a bright line ban on lead paint in children’s toys. The bill also allows State Attorneys General to help enforce the law.

Arizona PIRG and other consumer groups have been working to ensure that the bill would be as protective of consumers as possible. The bill passed out of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee today with many strengthening amendments supported by the groups including: internet and catalogue warning labels; product registration cards to improve how consumers find out about recalls, mandatory toy safety standards, and improved whistleblower protections. Leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee are working on, but have yet to introduce, similar legislation.

“The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee today gave the agency some of the tools it needs to protect all Americans, especially children, from dangerous imports and other hazards,” concluded Brown.