A bill before the U.S. Senate would bring sweeping changes to the government entity overseeing thousands of new products coming into the country every year. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin is cosponsoring the bill to boost the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Harkin says the bill would bring vital improvements, as there have been so many recalls in recent months involving hosts of hazardous products.
Harkin says: “Over the last year, U.S. consumers have been bombarded with story after story about dangerous products, everything from contaminated pet food to killer toys. In 2007, more than 25-million toys were recalled, many for lead paint. It’s obvious the C-P-S-C is underfunded and understaffed. It’s responsible for the safety of more than 15-thousand products but it’s operating with half its original staff.” Harkin says the legislation has bi-partisan support and he hopes it will pass.
Harkin says the Consumer Product Safety Commission Reform Act would boost funding to the agency by 50-percent, while adding 500 people to the staff. He say the legislation would also raise civil penalties from the current one-point-eight million to 20-million while creating criminal penalties too. Harkin says the legislation also empowers state attorneys general to go after violators, bans the sale of recalled items, and would raise the number of commission inspectors at U.S. ports — as there are now only 15.