February 10 should have been the day that America's kids got a whole lot safer. That's the day that important provisions of a new product safety law were scheduled to go into effect. Unfortunately, the acting chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Nancy Nord, decided to hold off on enforcing the new law's tough new limits on toxic lead for another year.
After more than 45 million toys and other children's products were pulled off U.S. store shelves in 2007 Congress responded with the most sweeping overhaul of the product safety watchdog agency since it was established in 1973.
Unfortunately, under Acting Chair Nord, the CPSC has failed to live up to its responsibility for implementing the new law. Instead of developing the regulations needed to clarify a complicated new law for businesses and consumers, the agency's inaction and mixed signals fed a firestorm of confusion and misinformation about the new law's impact on small businesses that powerful special interests took advantage of.
No responsible business wants to sell a product that will hurt our kids.
No parent wants their children harmed by the toys they buy for them. Together, with strong leadership from the CPSC, we can reach the goals of safety for children and financial viability for small businesses. The CPSC has a big job ahead to accomplish the CPSIA's goal of keeping unsafe toys out of our kids' hands.
The agency needs new leadership that is up to this important job.
President Obama should act quickly to nominate, and Senators Durbin and Burris should vote to confirm, a strong consumer safety-oriented chair for this agency. America's kids shouldn't have to wait.
Illinois Public Interest Research Group