Concerns about Product Safety Legislation

By February 25, 2008General

We appreciate the efforts in Congress to strengthen the authority and resources of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, but…but…BUT! The Washington Times editorializes on the Senate bill expected to be introduced this week. From “A flawed approach to product safety“:

Among the unpalatable provisions in Mr. Pryor’s bill is one that would allow state attorneys general to intervene in product safety cases that go well beyond what is written in statute, thus encroaching on the CPSC’s authority and creating excess bureaucracy and governmental overlap.

“We appreciate the idea of having more cops on the beat,” said Stephanie Lester, vice president for international trade at the Retail Industry Leaders Association. However, Miss Lester points out, the law could result in attorneys general interjecting themselves into these cases for political or other reasons that go beyond the intent of policy-makers.

The Senate bill would also require manufacturers to place excessive product warning labels on toys, a nanny-state move that could result in wavering consumer confidence and harm some toymakers. The bill would require that labels be plastered in every sort of advertising medium, regardless of whether the actual toy already has the labeling on the actual product. The Senate bill would create a publicly disclosed database that would allow consumers to openly complain about alleged product safety shortfalls, regardless of whether these complaints are true. This misguided proposal could damage the reputations and commercial viability of manufacturers and retailers who are smeared in this public setting before a full investigation can take place.

The NAM has expressed support for House legislation to increase CPSC funding, H.R. 4040.

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