Saturday, November 3, 2007

This week at the CPSC

Monday: CPSC Director Nancy Nord, a former industry lawyer, testified before a Senate committee that her agency did not need more funding or greater capabilities or greater penalties for manufacturers who make unsafe products.

Tuesday: The Senate Committee passed legislation beefing up the CPSC and banning lead in toys over the objections of Nord and the Bush Administration.

Wednesday: In the late afternoon of Halloween, when parents weren't likely be watching the news or checking the CPSC website, the CPSC quietly recalled 380,000 "Ugly Teeth" for lead paint violations. These toys were intended to be put in the mouth as part of a Halloween costume. A few hours before trick or treating time seemed like a good time for the CPSC to recall this cheap, poisonous crap.

Friday: the Washington Post reported that "Nancy Nord and her predecessor, Hal Stratton, took nearly 30 trips since 2002 that were partially or fully paid for by trade associations, manufacturers or corporate lawyers, at a cost of nearly $60,000". These included a $11,000 trip to China sponsored by fireworks manufacturers and trips to New York and San Francisco paid for by the Toy Industry Association.

All this adds up to what we've been saying here: The CPSC is nothing more that a PR firm for manufacturers. The agency has been imbued by the Bush Administration with weakness and conflicting interests. And their lack of oversight in the past 7 years has enabled greedy toy manufacturers seeking to reduce costs and outsource oversight.
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