The Human Costs of Pander, Take 3: Parents Beware the Incredibly Shrunken Consumer Product Safety Commission

by Rena Steinzor | February 02, 2010

Eighty percent of the toys sold in the United States are manufactured abroad, the vast majority in China. Because China has no effective regulatory structure, these imports are notoriously dangerous for children. The most prominent example is toys coated with lead paint, made that way because in China, lead paint is actually cheaper than the safe variety because the Chinese have increased the mining of lead ore by 50 percent since 2001. (Let’s not even imagine what Chinese manufacturers are selling to their own people). But it’s not just lead-laden toys. Independent investigations also discovered that Chinese manufacturers were using a chemical coating on tiny glue dots sold as part of a craft set for young kids that metabolized into the date rape drug gamma hydroxyl butyrate by kids who ate them. Some did, and ended up in the hospital. And just this Christmas, scientists found the toxic chemical cadmium in the coating of a Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer charm bracelet, again, courtesy of Chinese manufacturers.

We shouldn’t have to rely on the good intentions of Chinese manufacturers to make sure our kids’ toys are safe. And in fact, sparing us from such leaps of faith is the responsibility of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which also has jurisdiction over 15,000 product categories and hundreds of millions of products sold annually, including everything from backyard barbecues to food processors to electric drills. In 1981, before President Reagan took office and ...

CPSC's First Year Under Obama: An Agency Still Finding Its Feet

by James Goodwin | January 15, 2010
This post is second in a series on the new CPR report Obama’s Regulators: A First-Year Report Card. It’s only fair to note that when President Obama assumed office in January of 2009, he inherited a slate of dysfunctional protector agencies. Perhaps none were more dysfunctional than the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)—the tiny agency charged with protecting all Americans from literally tens of thousands of different kinds of dangerous products, everything from backyard barbecues and electric drills to swimming ...

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