A new report just issued by Consumers Union (CU) - and promptly ignored by the mainstream media - says that recalls of toys and other consumer products, which have reached nearly ten million so far this year, are on pace to exceed last year's record number of recalls. At the current rate, the Consumer Product Safety Commission is on track to issue more than 800 recalls in their 2008 fiscal year, a 70 percent increase over last year.
A whopping 98% of these dangerous products are imports and 87% of those are coming from...China. This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who's been paying attention to the news.
The Consumers Union report, "Still Not Safe: New Recalls Underline Need for Strong Hazardous Product Legislation," also found that more than 1.3 million products have been recalled in 2008 for lead hazards. This was a widely reported story last year - and it's the same story this year, only worse and, for some reason, the media's not paying attention this time. Yes, that's right - our kids are in danger from substandard products like toys, children's clothing, bicycles, pacifiers, rattles, games, and cribs.
In the title of the report lies one of the obvious solutions to this problem - much stronger hazardous product legislation. Both houses of Congress have, in fact, already passed somewhat different versions of such legislation, and they're working to resolve the differences in order to send the bill to the President.
And what has been the Bush Administration's response? Funny you should ask. Just this past Thursday, May 15th, the Administration sent its "position" on the pending product safety legislation: they oppose almost every single important provision in the bills.
"We are particularly concerned that they oppose mandatory third party certification that products meet US standards--the Administration thinks it should be voluntary," said Jean Halloran, director of the CU NotInMyCart.org Campaign, who helped to compile the report. "Since companies already have the option to get their products certified, and in the last four months, almost 10 million products have been recalled -- 1.3 million because they violate the existing weak lead standards -- voluntary certification will obviously not stop the flood of substandard foreign products," she added.
I guess the Administration has more important things to do, like compare Senator Obama to Neville Chamberlain. As for American consumer product safety - oh well.