August 12, 2013
Washington, DC—The National Consumers League joins with our consumer colleagues and all other Americans in celebrating this week the fifth anniversary of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). The Act was signed into law by President George W. Bush on August 14, 2008 and was the first major update to the authorizing legislation of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the federal safety agency created in 1974.
The Commission came into being after Congress concluded that thousands of injuries annually from consumer products – including those leading to deaths of infants and young children from such diverse products as ingested nonfood items, poisons under the sink and in the medicine cabinet, over the counter drugs, dangerous garage doors, or poorly designed cribs, high chairs, and toys - needed the attention of a federal safety agency.
The CPSC today conducts research, holds hearings, issues safety regulations, and recalls products. And like the CPSC, the CPSIA had the overwhelming support of a bipartisan group of Senators and House members. The reforms include:
CPSIA enabled several significant safety breakthroughs:
- The SaferProducts.gov database;
- Third-party premarket testing for children’s products;
- The reduction of lead in children’s products through lower lead limits;
- Strong mandatory standards for cribs and other infant and toddler products; and
- A mandatory safety standard for children’s toys.
“The reforms put in place by the CSPIA were long sought efforts by consumer advocates: a database for consumers to check safety before buying, a more effective recall system, mandatory testing of infant and toddler products before they hit the market, all of these sometimes seemed like impossible goals. It took a crisis and parents realizing that many children’s toys contained unacceptable levels of lead to get Congress to act.”
“NCL applauds the many consumer groups who worked overtime to get this law over the finish line, and thank the bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives who saw the need for these reforms and supported the bill. Today’s families are far less likely to face the terrible consequences of a toy laced with lead or a poorly designed crib,” said Sally Greenberg, NCL’s Executive Director.
“It’s hard to account for tragic events that don’t happen because of stronger safety standards. One statistic helps prove the point: 50 years ago, about 400 children a year died from unintentional poisoning, mostly from aspirin. Today, about 40 children a year die, still too many, but a 90 percent reduction in deaths that is due directly to CPSC regulations on packaging and child proof caps. And they work. We know that CPSIA reforms will work as well to save lives and prevent injuries. Happy Fifth Anniversary to this important legislation.”
About the National Consumers League
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America's pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.