U.S. House passes toy safety bill with tightened lead standards
The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill yesterday aimed at improving the safety of toys sold in the country. The bill lowers the allowable lead level in children’s toys, mandates independent testing, increases the budget of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and raises the cap on potential civil penalties for manufacturers from $1.25 million to $10 million. The popularity of the House bill was due in large part to its relative ease on industry. A tougher, and therefore more controversial, bill in the Senate is scheduled for debate sometime after the holiday recess. The current draft of the Senate bill would do many of the same things the House-passed version does, but would also allow state attorneys general to sue to enforce federal product-safety laws, protect employees who report safety law violations, increase the civil penalty cap to $100 million, and give industry less time to comply with the lower lead standards. Expect dilutions aplenty when Congress resumes debate in the new year.