Toy/Food Recalls: How to Take Action
It's become a commonplace occurrence, huge recalls of toys discovered to be coated with lead or of foods found to be contaminated. But other than boycotting all products from China or only eating what you've grown yourself, there hasn't been much concerned adults could do other than stay informed.
At the end of October, The Senate Commerce Committee approved the CPSC Reform Act that would authorize additional funding for the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The funds would be used to increase staff levels to at least 500 employees by 2013, improve antiquated testing facilities and increase CPSC agents at U.S. ports of entry. The legislation would also:
- Authorize funding levels for 7 years starting at $80 million in 2009 and increasing at a rate of 10 percent per year through 2015. For 2008 and 2009, an additional $40 million would be authorized to upgrade CPSC's laboratories and $1 million would be authorized to research the safety of nanotechnology in products
- Increase civil fines up to $250,000 per violation with a cap at $100 million;
- Increase criminal penalties to 5 years in jail for those who knowingly and willingly violate product safety laws
- Require third party safety certification on every children's product that enters the United States
- Require manufacturers to label children's products with tracking information useful to facilitate a recall
- Ban the direct use of lead in all children's products – from lunch boxes to toys;
- Allow state Attorneys General to bring civil action on behalf of its residents to enforce product safety laws and obtain damages and restitution
- Provide whistle blower protections for manufacturers' and importers' employees to shed light on any problems along the supply chain
- Make it unlawful for retailers to sell a recalled product
- Streamline product safety rule making process to be timely and proactive
Here's where you can make a difference. Consumers Union has created a website that not only contains information and photographs of recalled items, it also includes a form letter you can sign and email to your Congressional representative urging them to vote for the CPSC Reform Act. It takes less than a minute of your time and can provide the backing necessary to get funding to the agency in charge of keeping the products we purchase safe for people of all ages.
Toys Recalled Due to Lead(click thumbnails to view gallery)
Thanks to Tamara at Cookie Magazine for this information!