Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Don't let them hijack safety -- attempts to gut CPSC funding for critical safety measures

Amendments to vital funding measures are currently being considered in the US House of Representatives that would gut key safety provisions of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. Under threat is the funding for the public database that is set to help consumers learn of and report unsafe products and the third-party testing provisions that are helping to ensure the safety of toys and other children's products.

Without third-party testing to ferret out design flaws and other safety issues, the tough new mandatory standards won't mean much. After all, a ban was in place before the avalanche of toys recalled for lead paint in 2007 -- but with no independent testing, the tainted products were sold to our children anyway.

Without this public database, all of our efforts to make information about unsafe products available to the public will be undermined. The status quo, where public safety information is sealed away in CPSC files, serves no one -- except those making dangerous products. The CPSC database contains an array of protections to ensure that inaccurate information does not get published. Anonymous complaints will not be permitted, and only safety-related information will be permitted. Complaints will not even be considered for publication if 8 specific minimum fields are not filled out. Businesses also get to see every report of harm before it is placed in the database, and have the opportunity to correct inaccurate information and to provide their own comments. These protections are in place to provide transparency for consumers, while also providing protections for manufacturers.

Read this letter from Lisa Olney, whose daughter Ellie was killed in an unsafe portable crib for a personal testament to the importance of this database.

And don't be fooled -- the small amount this will save won't balance the budget -- these cuts are specifically targeted to stop safety measures already approved by Congress.

Contact your representatives immediately to tell them to oppose these attempts to hijack safety and to put the safety of our children first. The amendments to the Continuing Resolution (CR) are filed by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and are #545 (defunds the Database), #546 (defunds work to set rules for third party testing) and #547 (defunds CPSC's ability to accredit labs for third party testing for phthalates and toy testing) Click here to find and contact your representative!

UPDATE: Amendment 545 is up for discussion today! Call or email your Congressional Representative. Click here to find and contact your representative!

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