Praise poured in from all quarters today as President George W. Bush signed into law a bill that bans lead paint and phthalates in products intended for children under the age of 12 - the strictest such law in the world.
The record-setting 448 product recalls last year - about half of them for children's products - drove the bill through the legislative process. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 passed both houses of Congress late last month with overwhelming majorities.
The legislation reauthorizes the Consumer Product Safety Commission for FYs 2010-2014 and expands the commission's role in ensuring the safety of consumer products, especially those designed for children.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, said today that the new law would give parents peace of mind. "This landmark law will strengthen our ability to prevent unsafe toys from being sold, remove from the shelves more quickly products that are found to be harmful, and increase fines and penalties for violating product safety laws," Pelosi said.
Senator Mark Pryor, an Arkansas Democrat who authored the legislation said it would "keep toxic toys and other dangerous products out of our homes."
"This new law hands back the reins to the CPSC, our consumer watchdog agency, by giving it the necessary authority and resources to patrol today's global marketplace," Pryor said.
"We also require more responsibility from manufacturers and retailers, and stiffen the penalties if they fail to meet higher safety standards. From the factory floor to the store shelves, there are dozens more new safeguards that we've built in place to prevent unnecessary injuries and fatalities," Pryor said.
Congressman Bobby Rush of Illinois sponsored the bill in the House. "Congress is united in its effort to make children's products safer by establishing a tough new ban on toxic toys and revitalizing the Consumer Product Safety Commission," said Rush on August 1. "We have taken a big step towards reestablishing consumer safety and consumer confidence."