House, Senate Pass Bill That Increases CPSC Budget, Bans Lead In Toys

New legislation banning lead and (pending further study) six types of phthalates (chemicals suspected of causing heath problems) from children’s products has passed the Senate and now moves on to President Bush. In addition to banning lead and other chemicals, the bill will require independent testing of children’s products before they can enter the marketplace — a practice many consumers assumed was standard until they found out that Thomas the Tank Engine was covered in lead.

If the bill is signed, some voluntary safety standards will become mandatory, and companies who fail to report hazards or violate the new laws will face steep penalties of up to $15 million.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission, currently toothless and underfunded, will see its budget double and its authority increase.

We’re happy to report that the bill enjoyed bipartisan support and passed overwhelmingly in both the House (424-1) and the Senate (89 to 3.)

Senate Sends Sweeping Product-Safety Bill On to Bush
[Washington Post]
(Photo: Lee Jordan )

Comments

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  1. mookiemookie says:

    The only one to vote against it in the House was the President of the Internet, Ron Paul.

  2. Triborough says:

    It would be easier if everything was not made in China.

  3. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    @mookiemookie:

    I like Ron Paul & all, but that’s hilarious.

    I wonder if any freedom-stealing “riders” were added to this bill?

  4. gqcarrick says:

    @Triborough: Exactly! Unfortunately stores like Walmart went from “Made in America” to “Made where ever we can get it the cheapest to maximize profit”

  5. GamblesAC2 says:

    @Jaysyn: thats pretty likley, especialy if congressman Sensenbrenner had anything to do with it.

  6. Bladefist says:

    lol McCain and Obama didn’t vote. One of them will be our next leader. wooohoo

    [www.senate.gov]

  7. varro says:

    @mookiemookie: Ron Paul believes parents make an informed choice in choosing delicious, but deadly, Chinese-made toys covered in lead paint for their children.

    Anyway, the market will protect the children.

  8. varro says:

    @Triborough: I’ll be damned if I let my kids play with wooden hippie toys made in the U.S. or Europe! Get a brain morans! Go China!

  9. Average_Joe says:

    McCain has been very absent in the senate since he started his run, and Obama probably chose this one not to vote for since it was sure to pass. The only opposition was Ron Paul. Who stuck by his less federal government position and in a way pointed out that people weren’t dying before this bill, so is it really necessary?

  10. crabbyman6 says:

    @Bladefist: Neither of them voted on the housing bill that just passed either. I guess they’re too “busy” campaigning to vote on an important bill like that costing billions of tax dollars.

    [www.cbsnews.com]

  11. savvy999 says:

    McCain hasn’t voted on a thing since April. So this is just really par for the course for the old duffer.

  12. savvy999 says:

    But back to the regularly scheduled program, this is the money shot:

    Companies that fail to report hazards or violate product safety laws could face as much as $15 million in penalties. Previously, that amount was capped at $1.8 million.

    Now we’re talkin’! But of course, how many times have companies paid the $1.8MM fine? Hardly ever.

    Hopefully President Obama will appoint a USAG that will back up the CPSC’s work with a nice big stick.

  13. Bladefist says:

    @savvy999: I was trying to keep it bi-partisan.

    [obama.senate.gov]

    His record of voting is pitiful too. Look, can we all agree that someone who is wanting to make change (both Obama/McCain) could pop in every once in a while, and do their job. We’re paying them 6 figures and they are campaigning instead. I’m sure they’re busy. But, I can’t leave work everyday to go interview for other jobs, how come they can?

  14. SkokieGuy says:

    @Bladefist: Well said. Totally bipartisan and sad and true.

    Perhaps their campaign war chests can rebate their salaries rec’d during the campaign?

  15. savvy999 says:

    Why bipartisan? There can be only 1 at the top. [projects.washingtonpost.com]

    bad = Obama, only showing up once in a while
    utterly incompetent = McCain, not showing up ever

    McCain has showed up less than a guy who was out with a brain hemorrhage.

  16. SkokieGuy says:

    @savvy999: I was responding to Bladefist’s earlier comment regarding the housing bill. Both candidates were no shows, so his comment was bipartisan, not attacking one more than the other.

  17. mookiemookie says:

    @Jaysyn: My guess would be he was opposed to the increase in the size and budget of the CPSC.

  18. savvy999 says:

    @SkokieGuy: no problemo. BO and JM both didn’t vote on this one. and the other one. Quite relevant.

    Just whenever arguments appear that lump McCain and Obama together in a general way– as in, they are both equally sucky– that gets my goose.

    I’m on a Highlander kick today. Like I said, there can be only 1 who is the suckiest, and it’s quite clear who that is.

    Following the code, I’m done with my OT comments in this thread, to the relief of all.

  19. TheGreenMnM says:

    I guess I’m a little governmentally ignorant… but isn’t voting the “job” of being a Representative or Congressman? I mean, if I just decided “I’m not going to work for a few months” I would be SO fired. I can’t understand how this is even allowed.

  20. bnb614 says:

    @savvy999: I agree, whenever someone lumps McCain and Obama together as equally sucky, that gets my goose.

    Obama is 10 times suckier than McCain. At least McCain has experience. You can list example of McCain looking out for consumers and working with Democrats on issues. Obama’s job for the last 10 or so years was running for his next office. The messiah. He has no experience so have faith!!!! Just have faith! Just like you do with jesus! Have faith Obama the messiah will fix it!

    McCain is a horrible candidate but at least he has experience being bipartisan. Obama is a dreadful candidate.
    Sadly, no good choice this election. Even the libertarian isn’t a libertarian.

    @gqcarrick: No, Wal-Mart didn’t go from “Made in America” to “Made where ever we can get it the cheapest to maximize profit”. The U.S. gov’t went from “god bless these companies who hire and employ our workers and pay them a fair wage” to “let’s regulate and tax the crap out of companies and make them less competitive” and have unions get them $80,000 a year for unskilled labor.” Thanks for coming automakers and steel companies.

  21. bnb614 says:

    @TheGreenMnM: How dare you ask that question, citizen. You are looking at it the wrong way. They aren’t voting but they are “working.” You know, campaigning, giving oral to lobbyists, funneling jobs to campaign supporters. The usual.

  22. Bladefist says:

    @savvy999: I’m not going to debate you on that. But I love that link you sent me. I’ve been sending it to everyone I know.

    Did you notice 6 of the top 7 ran for president? Our laziest members want to be given more power!

  23. stanner says:

    Is that a life size Thomas in someones yard? That’s a lot of lead.

  24. theodicey says:

    Look, the bottom line is, only McCain missed more votes than a guy in a COMA, including this one.

    Overall the attendance debate is stupid. Senators are not being paid to waste time saying yea or nay when it’s not necessary. They’re being paid to write laws and ensure the executive branch is carrying them out.

    As the presidential candidates being the ones missing votes — Bladefish, are you seriously confused about this, or are you just putting us on? If you’re traveling five days a week, are you going to fly back to the office for every inconsequential all hands meeting?

  25. HogwartsAlum says:

    @Bladefist:

    I don’t see how anyone can do anything when they are campaigning. I don’t see how they can get any sleep even.

    I’m glad they did this, however. It worries me to buy any toys for my nieces so I try to get them something not painted or made of plastic!

    Obama was here in my city just the other day. Of course, I didn’t get to go because I was sitting here at work reading Consumerist. :D

  26. Rachacha says:

    @mookiemookie: Actually, one of the most contested portions of the bill was the ban on phthalates. Phthalates are used as a softener in plastic which makes the plastic less brittle (and therefore less prone to breaking and therefore posing a lower risk of parts breaking off and a young child choking on it.

    Some studies suggest that phthalates may me ingested by children and causing health problems. Unfortunately sufficient studies have not been done on the effects of phthalates so the concern is are you creating 1 problem (brittle plastic and choking hazards) by banning a substance that is not know to be a true hazard.

  27. Jandek says:

    @mookiemookie:

    I haven’t like that guy (Ron Paul) from day one, and never got the hype. He is nuts. And so are his supporters.

  28. inspiron says:

    @Jandek:

    the national debt increases 1.88 BILLION per day, the total national debt spread out to every man woman and child in the united states is $31,000 (you alone have 31,000 of debt and you did nothing to accumulate it)

    If a family of 5 had $155,000 in debt together you figure it would be wise to try and balance the budget, that’s what Ron Paul was probably trying to do. Maybe he was the only one who’s sane.

  29. Rachacha says:

    @inspiron: perhaps, except there are ways to increase the budget of a small agency like CPSC without having a major impact on other government organizations, perhaps not spending $16 million to fight the global war on terror on “Comfort pods” [www.washingtonpost.com]

  30. Bladefist says:

    @inspiron: National debt is a complex thing. But you don’t owe anything. The government owes you.

    • zyodei says:

      @Bladefist: Crap reporting. On the surface it’s great. In reality, it puts out of business thousands of small toymakers, and actually will increase imports from China. Shame on you Consumerist.

  31. Becky Close says:

    Umm….. did anyone read the fine print about how this will severly affect not only small bussiness owners, but crafters, artisans and thrift store owners? I am all for lead and chemical free toys but let’s give common sense a chance where hysteria has become common place.