Senate passes consumer-safety bill that would reduce toxics in toys
The U.S. Senate has passed legislation aimed at decreasing consumer exposure to dangerous products (like, oh, lead-tainted toys, to pick a random example). Specifically, the measure passed Thursday would increase the staff and budget of the Consumer Product Safety Commission; sharply reduce acceptable levels of lead and phthalates in toys; create a database of public complaints about products; protect whistleblowers; allow states to take consumer-safety measures if they feel the feds aren’t doing enough; increase the maximum manufacturer penalty for violations; penalize companies that sell recalled products; and make some currently voluntary toy-safety standards mandatory. The Bush administration opposes the bill, stating that — get this — the legislation “may actually harm a well-functioning product safety system,” but stopped short of threatening to veto. The Senate measure will now have to be reconciled with a less stringent House bill favored by the Bushies and manufacturers.