Thursday, December 2, 2010

Senate sub-committee holds hearing on CPSC -- product safety in the holiday season

Today Rachel Weintraub, Director of Product Safety and Senior Counsel with the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) testified on the progress the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has made in making products safer, as well as the challenges faced by the agency.

The Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance Subcommittee of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, headed by Senator Mark Pryor
(D‐AR), held the hearing to address Product Safety in the Holiday Season, as part of their oversight responsibilities of the CPSC.

Ms. Weintraub testified on behalf of CFA, as well as Consumers Union, Kids In Danger and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. Representatives from industry, small manufacturers and the American Academy of Pediatrics also spoke, following a panel of the CPSC Chairman, Inez Tenenbaum and Commissioner Anne Northup.

“Whenever we make a purchase for our family and friends, most people assume that the product they are considering is safe.,” stated Weintraub. “While consumers do need to think about how the child interacts with the product, if there are other children in the house who may play with the product, or whether the product has been previously recalled, there are some issues that no amount of thought or planning can detect. It is the realm of hidden hazards that the CPSIA and CPSC have sought to detect and prevent.”

Her testimony outlined successes that CPSC has had since implementing the CPSIA. These include a strong mandatory crib standard, a comprehensive consumer incident database, online toy warnings, product registration, and mandatory toy standards.

Ms. Weintraub also discussed the challenges facing the agency involving implementation of the CPSIA and concerns raised by stakeholders as well as the problem of cadmium in children’s products.

Ms. Weintraub rejected attempts to "open a series of gaping loopholes in the CPSIA that would allow more lead into a host children’s products,” that have been proposed by various stakeholders. “Allowing more lead in children’s products and carving out products from the scope of the CPSIA is not what children are asking for this holiday season.”

You can view the archived webcast and read testimony from participants as well as statements from Senators here.

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