Sunday, September 2, 2007

Problems at the CPSC

From Dan: The NY Times today published a lengthy expose about the many problems at the CPSC (The Consumer Products Safety Commission) and how they are failing to keep unsafe products off the market. Under the Bush administration, the article reports, testing and enforcement staff have been dramatically cut, the agency has been infiltrated with pro-industry appointees, and regulations have been relaxed. The same story can be told in the last 7 years of the EPA, the FAA, the FDA, and myriad other federal regulatory agencies.

Meanwhile, Chinese manufacturers view the CPSC's voluntary safety standards as optional, and often choose to ignore them.

So, we have an industry that's been outsourcing more and more production to foreign firms and a regulatory agency that's been regulating less and less. This effects not just toys, but everything from cigarette lighters to ATVs.

As a parent, a business owner and a citizen, I expect more from the CPSC. In a time when more and more products are manufactured offshore, we need more diligent oversight, not less. And, we need an agency that stops unsafe products before they reach our homes instead of relying on injury reports to issue ineffective recalls. We need a president that values citizens above corporations.

This summer's wave of toy recalls has made many people question the quality of mass-market Chinese toys. It should also demonstrate that the choices we made at the ballot box in 2000 and 2004 have had tangible results in our everyday lives.
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