Thank you for contacting me. I am always glad to hear from you.
I appreciate hearing your comments regarding the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). I was a proud co-sponsor of this legislation. This past year, Iowa's families were frightened by story after story of dangerous products that had to be recalled. There were 472 product recalls last year alone. From pet food to kitchen appliances, consumers were often left wondering whether the products they were using everyday were safe. One of the most upsetting occurrences was the news of toxic toys that contained hazardous lead paint. More than 20 million toys were recalled last year due to lead paint.
As you know, in order to better protect consumers, Congress passed the CPSIA to provide new safety and accountability standards for manufactured goods. It also authorized a much needed infusion of resources to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the federal agency responsible for protecting American consumers. Recent recalls have made it painfully clear that the CPSC is grossly underfunded and understaffed. The bill we passed will ensure the CPSC can beef up its staff and provide the oversight Americans expect.
One important safety provision included in the bill is the requirement of third-party testing and certification for children's products. I believe this is a crucial provision. It is vital that Americans know the products they are purchasing, especially for their children, are safe. I also recognize that this testing process may create a burden for small manufacturers. For that reason, I am pleased the law provides an exemption for crafters who only make one copy of each item. Furthermore, I understand the Commission is examining an additional exemption for products made from untreated wood or natural fibers. I am also hopeful that as more testing companies are founded, the costs of meeting the law's requirements will come down.
I do not, however, favor a blanket exemption for all small businesses. Many recalls in the past have come from small manufacturers, and it is imperative that parents know that a product does not contain lead, no matter who manufactured it. While I am extremely sympathetic that this requirement may be a significant burden for many small businesses, I believe our children's health and safety must come first and testing is a necessary safeguard.
Again, thanks for sharing your views with me. Please don't hesitate to let me know how you feel on any issue that concerns you.
United States Senator"
"More than 20 million toys were recalled last year due to lead paint." - yes, one of my daughter's Dora dolls was recalled last year...manufactured in China.
"I also recognize that this testing process may create a burden for small manufacturers." - as I stressed in my contact letter to him, I will have to shut down shop. That's not a burden, that's going out of business. Small businesses/manufacturers are classified as 500 or fewer employees. My small business has just one employee - me.
"Furthermore, I understand the Commission is examining an additional exemption for products made from untreated wood or natural fibers." - untreated wood/natural fibers = white/unbleached/beige/tan clothing, baby items, etc...
Ironically, one of Tom Harkin's committee assignments is the "Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship."