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Today, the Senate passed the final conference report of H.R. 4040- the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008. Maryland PIRG State Director, Johanna Neumann had the following statement.
“We applaud the Senate for acting to get toxic chemicals like lead and phthalates out of our children’s toys. This bill is a huge victory for America's littlest consumers in the face of ExxonMobil and the chemical industry’s efforts to gut it. The conferees and their staff deserve tremendous credit for bringing this over the finish line.”
The bill is a historic step forward in product safety. In addition to its massive increase in CPSC resources and funding, and its increase in civil penalty and recall authorities, the new law will:
- make industry's voluntary toy standard mandatory, which means that magnets and many other hazards will be subject to the new law's centerpiece third party testing requirement;
- ban six toxic phthalates in children's products. Three are banned permanently. Three would then be subject to a CPSC scientific review, but are banned until it is completed. If the ban is removed, states would regain authority to ban them.
- grant private-sector employees whistleblower protections, which means more hazards will be reported to the CPSC.
- require establishment of a public CPSC database of potential hazards.
- require that choking hazards be disclosed in Internet advertising.
The bill’s new third party testing requirement does not include an additional new layer of preemption that the toy industry had demanded for months, which would have stifled state attorney general enforcement of a critical new untested product safety reform.
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