The repercussions of the Product Safety Improvement Act

John Dimsdale Dec 2, 2010
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The repercussions of the Product Safety Improvement Act

John Dimsdale Dec 2, 2010
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JEREMY HOBSON: On Capitol Hill today a group of manufacturers will take Congress to task over toy safety regulations. A Senate Subcommittee hearing is going to focus on a 2008 law called the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. The law was signed by President Bush and was intended to beef up the government’s oversight of products for kids.

But as Marketplace’s John Dimsdale reports now from Washington manufacturers are complaining that the law has had unintended consequences.


JOHN DIMSDALE: Jill Chuckas makes children’s products under the CraftyBaby label.

JILL CHUCKAS: All handcrafted children’s accessories — balls, bibs, changing pads, nap mats, art smocks.

She says the law puts up too many hurdles. Like for the man who gave up trying to sell a $110 wooden model airplane.

CHUCKAS: He would have to send to a testing lab twelve of these airplanes in order for the testing lab to do all of the tests they need to do to certify the product. It would cost him roughly $1300 just in lost sales.

Chuckas says the testing of everything from chemicals to sharp edges unfairly keeps some products, even books and DVDs, off the market. But the Consumer Federation’s Ruth Weintraub says the testing mandate gives the law teeth.

RUTH WEINTRAUB: To say that these are safe products that won’t be on the market, in some cases that might be true, in some cases it might not.

But without testing, she says, how do we know?

In Washington, I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

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