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Greg Webb
Greg Webb
Attorney • (800) 451-1288

Consumer Product Safety Commission: Understaffed, Underfunded

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The year 2007 was full of nerve-racking recalls for American consumers. Millions of lead intoxicated toys littered the consumer market. Even babies’ cribs were being recalled after three children were strangled by one particular model due to defective side rails. It has become apparent that the slow-moving Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is part of the problem at hand. The CPSC, for example, did not warn consumers about the dangers of the deadly cribs for over two years after the first baby died. They finally had to make an announcement about the dangerous product when a Chicago newspaper reporter started investigating the matter

The CPSC has remained understaffed and underfinanced. The total toy-testing staff consists of only one person. Only Congress can provide the necessary means to get the commission on track. The commission also is lacking a quorum, or the number of members it takes (usually a majority) for a decision to be made, so it is not able to make a vote to adopt safety laws or ask for recalls. Another member for the commission must be found or Congress must act quickly to pass a law allowing the two present members to pass as a quorum. Congress is also being asked to give the CPSC more funds so the commission can at least inform people about dangerous products. They are also trying to strengthen the CPSC’s power by making it a crime to resell recalled items and make the fine higher than the current $1.83 million cap for selling, or hiding the sale, of dangerous goods.