No more for product safety, please

Steve Henn Oct 30, 2007


Scott Jagow: The Consumer Product Safety Commission has had all it can handle lately. The recall of 13 million toys, for example. A bill in Congress would give the commission more money, more staff and more power. But the head of the agency says she doesn’t want the bill to pass. Steve Henn explains.

Steve Henn: Since the late 70’s, the staff at the Consumer Product Safety Commission has fallen by more than 50 percent.

Today, there is just one inspector who tests all the toys sold in the U.S. for choking hazards. And Ellen Bloom at Consumer’s Union says the agency is overwhelmed:

Ellen Bloom: Clearly, they don’t have enough resources and tools to do the job.

Nancy Nord, the acting chairman of the commission and a Bush appointee, has serious problems with that proposal to boost the commission’s budget. In a letter to Congress, Nord complained the bill imposes so many new requirements on the commission, it wouldn’t be able to perform its core role — safety inspections.

Nonetheless, the bill is expected to pass — although industry and the administration hope to change some provisions before it does.

In Washington, I’m Steve Henn for Marketplace.

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