Update #2: (5/31/11) The House Energy and Commerce Committee never did get around to voting last week on this measure. And it looks like they won’t this week either and then have a break next week. So that gives us more time to get calls into the representatives to oppose this bill that rolls back safety!
Update: Committee made opening statements today, will vote tomorrow. Here is a press release from the consumer advocates trying to preserve our hard-fought safety!
This week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will take up the deceptively named “Enhancing CPSC Authority and Discretion Act (ECADA)(HR1939) — an amendment to restrict the product safety measures passed in 2008 and limit the public information available in the CPSC’s new database.
In the version passed by the Subcommittee first taking up the issue, ECADA removes the requirement for independent testing for most children’s products except metal jewelry, pacifiers, infant and toddler durable products, lead paint and small parts. That leaves general toys untested, despite critical safety issues such as magnets, other heavy metals, pinch points and more. In addition, the amendment puts in many confusing measures on lead – — leaving parents with little information on how much lead is in the products they buy for their children – whether the product can contain 300ppm, 100ppm, a higher or even unlimited amount depends on the type of product, when it was made, whether it fits in a child’s mouth and the age of the child. We also have concerns with the proposed changes to the database. The amendment limits who can report, requires information that might be impossible to find in some cases and increases manufacturer’s ability to keep these vital safety reports out of the public eye. And the amendment weakens Danny’s Law by allowing child care facilities to keep old, possibly unsafe, cribs as long as they don’t have a drop-side. Any review of injury data from cribs shows that drop-sides are just one of the hazards that the new standard addresses.
So much of what this amendment does takes CPSC back to the wild west days before the CPSIA was passed in 2008 – lead limits will be unknown, compliance to standards is assumed, not independently verified and parents will once again be in the dark when they purchase products. While the amendment’s drafters say CPSC will be able to add categories of products to those requiring third party testing, they know the hurdles they put in place that will keep that from becoming a reality.
Here is the membership of the House Commerce and Energy Committee. If your representative is listed, please contact him or her and ask that they stand with consumers and vote against this retreat on safety.