Americans should trust that the products they buy are safe for their families. But headlines revealing lead paint in imported toys, daily recalls of faulty products, unsafe food in our grocery stores, and questionable medicines in our cabinets have made parents and consumers anxious. Government must live up to its responsibility to protect our children. Parents should not have to buy a lead testing kit before letting their children play. Standards must be established, inspections must be rigorous and strict penalties must be enforced.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has failed to protect American consumers and our children. It only has 15 inspectors to police the millions of toys and consumer products coming into the country at hundreds of entry points. And it has only one full-time toy tester. This afternoon the House passed the Consumer Product Safety Modernization Act, a strong first step in protecting our children. This bill gives the CPSC the tools it needs to keep us safe and increases oversight and accountability. Specifically, the bill:
Creates the toughest lead standard in the world for children's products. The bill bans lead beyond a minute amount in products intended for children under 12. Once fully phased in, the bill would lower the standard from 600 parts per million in total weight to 100 parts per million or trace amounts. It also mandates that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) periodically review and revise this standard to require the lowest amount of lead that science and technology makes feasible to achieve.
Requires Mandatory Safety Standards for Nursery Products (e.g., Cribs and High Chairs) and After Review for Toys. The bill also requires the CPSC to examine the current voluntary safety standards for toys, starting with dangerous magnets, and if found to be inadequate, mandatory standards must be adopted.
Requires Mandatory Third-Party Testing of Children's Products. The bill mandates pre-market testing of many children's products for lead and other hazards by certified laboratories.
Requires Tracking Labels to Aid Recalls. The bill requires manufacturers to place distinguishing marks on products and packaging of children's products to aid in recall of children's products.
Prohibits the Sale and Export of Recalled Products. The bill prohibits the export of products that violate U.S. consumer product safety rules, are subject to mandatory or voluntary recalls, are designated an imminent hazard to public health and safety, or are designated as a banned hazardous substance. Similarly, the bill makes the domestic sale of such products a prohibited act.
Improves Public Notice. The bill improves public notice about recalls by publicly disseminating recall information through the Internet, radio, and television.
Protects Rights of Injured Consumers to Sue Bad Actors. The bill prohibits the CPSC from using agency rulemaking actions to preempt State common law claims.
Strengthens Enforcement Against Bad Actors. The bill increases the cap on civil penalties to $10 million and authorizes State attorneys general to sue to enjoin violations of the law.
Strengthens the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The bill creates a new power for CPSC to immediately share information about dangerous products with the public and ensures State public health agencies are kept informed.
Provides CPSC with Urgently Needed Resources. The bill significantly increases CPSC resources to hire additional staff and for laboratory renovations, including $20 million to modernize the testing lab. The bill allots $80 million for FY2009, $90 million for FY2010 and $100 million for FY2011.
Restores CPSC to Full Panel of Five Commissioners.
Bans Industry-Sponsored Travel. The bill bans travel by CPSC Commissioners and staff that is paid for by an organization regulated by the CPSC.
Watch House Democrats discuss the bill this afternoon: