On the last day of July 2008, the House and Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill that bans six chemical phthalates and sets new standards for children’s product safety. Bipartisan support for this bill was strong, despite intense lobbying from some of the strongest corporate powers of our day. This time our children’s safety and common sense have come out on top!
Healthy Child Healthy World explains that the now banned phthalates are, “a chemical that has been shown to disrupt hormone and reproductive systems causing early puberty among other things, and it has already been banned in the EU, fourteen other countries, and states such as California, Washington, and Vermont.” Well, at least we’re starting to catch up with those savvy Europeans.
Actually, the Safe Toy Bill leads the way in terms of lead safety standards, setting the toughest standards in the world and virtually eliminating lead in all products designed for children 12 and under. With toy recalls for lead rampant in our nation, it’s certainly time to address the issue. Now if only they manage to actually enforce those standards…
The good news is that the bill also includes legislation designed to help the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) regain the authority and power to ensure product safety. For years now, the CPSC’s effectiveness has been seriously compromised through a lack of funding and through financial ties between staff and industry to the point that the CPSC lost capacity or interest in protecting the people. According to Healthy Child Healthy World, the bill includes measures to:
- Double the agency’s budget by 2014, giving it more power to oversee testing and enforce penalties on violators
- Require pre-market testing from unbiased laboratories to ensure compliance
- Provide whistle-blower protection to staff who report potential hazards
- Require the CPSC to set up a user-friendly database where government agencies, childcare providers, doctors, parents, or essentially anyone can report an injury, illness, death or risk related to products.
This is indeed good news!