As we are opening our country up to more imports made without any regard to product safety standards, we are weakening our domestic systems that are supposed to protect us against hazardous products and chemicals (this is the subject of my upcoming nationally syndicated weekly newspaper column).
Beyond the Consumer Products Safety Commission being underfunded, it is also statutorily inhibited from being an aggressive regulator. As the Wall Street Journal notes in its front-page report today, the commission "usually refrains from alerting the public about potential hazards until an agreement is reached" with the company that made the product in question. Put another way, our government may know a hazardous product is on shelves in American stores, but it leaves those products there so as to make nice with the manufacturer first.
Go read CAF's full report here and see how the right wing's free trade and deregulatory ideologies are putting our country at risk. As you can see, a number of Democrats are pushing legislation to strengthen the CPSC and to stop the new package of NAFTA-style trade agreements that once again include no basic labor, environmental or product safety standards. And in the next few days, the Progressive States Network should have a Stateside Dispatch showing what states can do in the event that lobbyists in Washington stymie congressional Democrats' efforts.
Cross-posted from Working Assets