For Immediate Release: January 9, 2020
Rachel Weintraub, CFA (202) 939-1012
Nancy Cowles, KID (312) 595-0649
Remington Gregg, PC (202) 454- 5117
Adam Garber, PIRG (267) 515-1220
Critical Product Safety Legislation Introduced in House Today by Representative Rush; Will Improve Communication of Vital Health and Safety Information to the Public
Washington, DC – Today, Representative Bobby Rush (D-IL) introduced a critically important product safety bill, the “Safety Hazard and Recall Efficiency (SHARE) Information Act.” The bill would amend Section 6(b) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) to remove obstacles that prevent the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) from communicating vital health and safety information to the public. The bill also would increase civil penalties for entities that do not comply with transparency rules or continue to sell unsafe consumer products. Consumer advocacy organizations have been working together for decades to improve product safety and Section 6(b), and applaud Rep. Rush for introducing the SHARE Information Act.
“We applaud Congressman Rush for introducing this incredibly important bill today. The SHARE Information Act is vitally necessary to ensure that life-saving safety information about consumer products is communicated to the public,” stated Rachel Weintraub, Legislative Director and General Counsel with Consumer Federation of America. “Section 6(b) is thwarting the CPSC’s ability to share critical information that impacts the health and safety of American consumers. This bill will remedy this dangerous information gap that keeps consumers in the dark.”
“Section 6(b) is a gag order on the CPSC – forcing this safety agency to keep information about dangerous products from the public,” said Nancy Cowles, executive director of Kids In Danger. “Too many children have died from unsafe products because of this small but devastating section of the Consumer Product Safety Act. A swift repeal will allow the agency to do its job, and save children’s lives.”
“In the last year, we’ve seen the clear consequences of keeping information about injuries and deaths confidential as the death toll from inclined sleepers like the Rock ‘n Play continued to climb. Rep. Rush’s effort to make critical health and safety information transparent, will help the CPSC meet its mission of protecting consumers, saving lives,” said Adam Garber of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Consumer Watchdog.
“No other federal health or safety agency has this process giving companies the ability to muzzle them,” said Remington A. Gregg, Counsel for Civil Justice and Consumer Rights at Public Citizen. “Section 6(b) should not be used to stop the CPSC from releasing critical safety information that could protect our families from injury or death. This provision is a hurdle to keeping consumers safe, and we thank Rep. Rush for his leadership in seeking to repeal it.”
Section 6(b) stifles the CPSC in its mission to protect consumers from unreasonable injury and death. For example:
- The CPSC has conducted safety testing on over 200 clothing storage units for stability. Dozens failed that testing and yet CPSC cannot release those names to the public while working to convince the companies to issue a recall.
- CPSC was unable to name specific infant inclined sleep products that were linked to injuries and deaths. Their first weak warning referred only to “infant inclined sleep products, and indicated that improper use was the cause of incidents. Once recalls were finally issued, too many parents did not realize they were using a dangerous product and failed to heed the recall notice since the earlier warning had stressed the danger was only with improper use.
In addition, a recent Public Citizen report found that 6(b)’s restrictions are time consuming and waste money that could be better spent keeping consumers safe.