In light of Chairman Waxman’s recent statement he intends to hold a House Energy and Commerce Committee (or subcommittee) hearing on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, we thought it might be useful to recall an op-ed column by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), chairman of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection.
In the April 29th “The Hill,” Rep. Rush had a column, “Consumer Safety: Calls to change the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act are premature.” In it, he makes the same point that Rep. Waxman made on the Diane Rehm Show, the law is meant to protect infants, toddlers and children from dangerous, toxic products.
Last, and most important, it’s critical to keep all of this in the context of the original goals of CPSIA. The law was passed to protect children from dangerous products, such as a toy with tiny magnets that ripped apart a toddler’s intestines, a crib that severed an infant’s fingers, and a lead-tainted toy that killed a child. And these were just the most obvious tragedies — remember that losing a few IQ points from lead poisoning doesn’t send a child to the E.R. Given the particular vulnerability of our children, we should think twice before loosening the new standards set by CPSIA or unraveling the obligations that have undergirded our consumer product safety laws for over 30 years.
If that was the intent, why does the law effectively ban bicycles, ballpoint pens, ATVs, dance outfits with sparkles and all other sorts of safe products for children? Does protecting children from unsafe products require such inflexible and overreaching laws that thousands of home-based businesses are forced to close?
More from Rep. Rush:
To be sure, CPSIA is not a perfect law, and the commission still has some big issues to address — such as low-risk materials, component part testing and specific products such as children’s books, bicycles and ATVs — in order to ensure that the law is effective and workable for businesses and consumers. As chairman of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection, I am closely monitoring CPSC’s implementation of CPSIA and intend to hold an oversight hearing when the commission has a new, permanent chairman. But the law is a fundamentally sound one, built on more than a year’s worth of bipartisan deliberation, which protects our children from needless and preventable harm. Let’s not undermine the sense of security parents now have when bringing something home for their kids.
To be sure …
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