NAM has grave concerns about product safety bill

RP news wires, Noria Corporation
Tags: workplace safety

The National Association of Manufacturers’ Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Coalition supports strong consumer product safety protections, but has grave concerns about the CPSC Reauthorization Act (S. 2045) as presently drafted.

 

In a letter to the Senate Commerce Committee, which is set to mark up S. 2045 on October 30, the NAM Coalition advocated increasing the commission’s budget and resources. But it also called on lawmakers to amend the draft legislation to better serve consumers, especially vulnerable children, and to encourage voluntary corrective actions rather than costly litigation.

 

“Under S. 2045, 50 different State Attorneys General will be able to sue manufacturers and distributors for actions that they each interpret and allege to be consumer product safety violations,” the coalition said. “This will result in inconsistent enforcement actions against companies in different states and would be especially harmful for small companies, requiring them to shift major resources toward litigation instead of product safety.”

 

S. 2045 would also subject U.S. companies to up to $100 million in penalties, up from the current $1.825 million, if the CPSC alleges after the fact that a company failed to make a timely product recall report. “The proposed penalty increases will promote litigation rather than cooperation, and in turn will lead to much more delay in taking action to address unsafe products and protect the public,” the coalition said.

 

“The CPSC has had relatively few civil penalty cases in its history because the goal has been to negotiate voluntary corrective actions that benefit consumers rather than create a legal environment that is not in the best interest of Americans,” the coalition said. “The proposed penalty increases will promote litigation rather than cooperation, and in turn will lead to much more delay in taking action to address unsafe products and protect the public.”

 

The NAM also expressed concern that the draft legislation makes an arbitrary change in proposed limits on lead without input from the toxicological community. Congress already provided for creation of a Chronic Hazard Advisory panel to weigh the health impact from exposure to potentially hazardous materials. “Restrictions on any material must be grounded in sound science,” the NAM coalition said.

 

“To its credit, the CPSC is considered the global leader in the area of product safety due to its domestic programs and international initiatives,” the coalition said. “Other countries are setting up programs based on the CPSC model. Its continued global leadership requires many of the improvements that you have written into the proposed legislation. Some proposals, however, would lessen the CPSC’s focus on safety and put that leadership in jeopardy.”


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